Thanks for checking out the latest installment in my ongoing series focused on covering the heaviest and most devastating of Bands and Artists within the Underground Music Community that travel through The Bay Area. This is a collection of footage that I’ve captured recently at shows on both sides of the bridges in Oakland & San Francisco.
Do you like to see blood pour out of the walls of your room while you listen to metal? If that is the case, then sit down and take a minute to listen to this track from Irish black metal bruisers MALTHUSIAN, a band featuring ALTAR OF PLAGUES (RIP) drummer Johnny King, here too of course sitting once again behind the kit. Why do we want you to listen to this music you say? Well, simply put, the music of MALTHUSIAN simply fucking slays in all sorts of ways. The band has thus far unleashed on the masses only one song, so it’s still early to really gauge the true nature of this project, but, oh my, what a blistering slab of destruction this piece of rabid black metal is, and what is even more exciting about it is that it’s pretty much unlike anything we have ever heard and totally new and different – this is why we’ve loved every scary second of it. The band’s demo is coming out sometime in November through Invictus Productions so keep your eyes peeled for it. In the meantime, check out Hallucinogen after the jump!
VOM FETISCH DER UNBEIRRTHEIT (VFDU) is… well, I’m not sure what exactly this band is. Their new album, titled Vertilger, is released by the Swedish Temple Of Torturous, a label that has quite a knack for finding and releasing more remote bands of the Black Metal underground. But even in terms of ToT (which released for example the last, highly experimental Total Negation record) VFDU is beyond everything you would expect, know and think of. It would be easy to declassify Vertilger just as weird, and honestly I think it is. But this record is SO weird, uncompromising and obscure it has a certain fascination to it I really can’t deny.
The two guys of VFDU are coming from a Black Metal background (their first album Psychohygiene from 2010 proves this more obvious) and traces of Black Metal can be found on Vertilger, too, expecially riff-wise. Just don’t expect anything melodic here, the riffs are of the most arcane kind, if discernible at all. Now and then there are also blast-beats to be heard. And there are loads of stoic, almost danceable beats on Vertilger, not unlike EBM. Supported by sickening guitar noises, the hysteric and disgusting vocals and the incredible hectic, manic songwriting VFDU create an horrible and nightmare’ish theme that won’t stop punishing you for over one hour. That is, if you’re able to endure this sonic torture for so long. Wanna try?
Vertilger is madness set to music. Provided that this is classifiable as music. In a lot of ways this album rather appears to be a piece of modern art, you know, like a rotting carcass of a horse being placed in a museum. Say what you want, but the thoroughgoingness of VFDU is nothing but impressing.
LITANY OF REGRETS are four young dudes from Italy and they play a painful, helpless and desperate hybrid of crust, post-punk and black metal that traces its roots back to Europe’s up and coming neo-crust movement, which is led by bands like Light Bearer, Link, Planks, and so on, and also leads back to the band’s most immediate origins, those embodied by GOTTESMORDER, the much more well known atmospheric black metal band in which guitarist Matteo usually plays bass.
That said, even though you may know already exactly what to expect, also rest assured that there are moments in this demo that are harder to pin down, that are just borderline annihilating, and that will leave you wondering what the hell on earth could have ever made these guys so fucking desperate and withdrawn into their hideous hole of bleak and tortured musical neglect.
I have no idea what to make of this. Like, legitimately no goddamn clue. Albatwitch, apparently from “parts unknown,” though my guess is somewhere in backwater Pennsylvania, has totally stumped me. Their facebook describes them as “blackened swamp crust noise drone folk,” and what the hell else could Only Dead Birds Sing Over the Graves of Fallen Kings even be?
This is just a weird fucking record, through and through. About half of the tracks are some guy playing banjo, and the opener is partially sung in German. And then there’s stuff like “A.M.P.I.C.,” which is the most necro sound imaginable, drum machines pounding under guitars that sound like they’re being played through a boombox.
And what the hell is an albatwitch, anyway? According to this website, it’s a sort of dwarf bigfoot that haunted a very specific part of rural Pennsylvania, prior to its extinction in the 20th century. The name, somehow, derives from “apple-snitch,” as the little things apparently liked to steal apples and throw them at picnickers. Seems apt for a black metal band.
And is this album actually about hydrofracking? Well, the last two tracks are titled “Frack-ture” and “Black Waters Rise,” and the former seems to contain a long sample of testimony about the deleterious health effects that come from natural gas drilling using hydraulic fracturing, so I guess it’s fair to say at least part of it is. But then again, there’s also someone screeching over top of everything, so I have no idea what this is actually about. Could it just be a concept album about bigfoot? Possibly.
There is no doubt that black metal and thrash go together splendidly, bands like Aura Noir have proved that already. So it is always nice when you suddenly come across an act such as Hexer. Hailing from Philadelphia and including members of other great bands such as Nachzehrer, One Master, Mutilation Rites and Unholy Goatfucker the band was formed back in 2009 and since then has released one demo and two cassette EPs. Gilead Media fortunately is releasing a vinyl, with remastered versions of the tracks found of both EPs in order to spread Hexer’s black thrash mayhem to the extreme music fans.
What is so intriguing about the band is how they are able to bring together the sound of both scenes in a very interesting manner. Somehow they are able to retain both the thrash metal aggressive feeling and the eerie black metal sentiment. It is quite impressive when you hear the album actually, because in some twisted way you find yourself ready to start a mosh pit when thrash anthems such as “I:III” appear, and the very next moment you are left out in the bitter frost environment that Hexer is so magnificently crafting, for instance in the beginning of “I:I”.
Droning synths, ambient field recordings, and sculpted feedback usher in Fragments Of A Fallen Star, the phenomenal second album from the as-yet criminally unknown Harrow, and they are indicative of what’s to come. This two-man black metal project from Victoria, British Columbia, draw from a much wider than usual sonic palette and a will to push beyond traditional genre confines. Pummelling blast beats, tremolo picked fury and piercing shrieks share just as much space as gentle acoustic finger-picking, somber crooning, and ambient drone. Multi-chapter song suites work their way from pagan folk through first-wave Scandinavian black metal to instrumental passages of pure psychedelia and prog-ish exploration, with elements surfacing as diverse as banjo, bodhrán, and most interestingly, samples from NASA’s Voyager probe over the moon Io.
Fragments Of A Fallen Star is the aural equivalent of a DMT trip, rocketing from the moons of Jupiter through a dimensional portal to frosty northern forests, pagan rituals and medieval battlegrounds. Exemplary of music and lyrics in perfect alignment, Harrow’s genre-hopping sound scores an interstellar opera that subversively combines black metal’s traditional preoccupation with the mythic and fantastic with less common scientific and cosmic imagery. The usual suspects – serpents, swords and sorcery – people a heroic tale that also references DNA, space, and inter-dimensional travel while contemplating Carl Sagan-esque notions of cosmic unity and the single source origin of matter.
DEUIL – To Die and Grieve in Belgium
One of the most fascinating aspects about classic black metal has always been and will always be the hypnotic and reduced approach to writing songs. Over the years, a lot of technical bands threw in their own version of this type of music. For me, the original approach was always the most appealing. As traditional as this sound is are the topics death and dying. These eponymous entities fueled great art, concepts, and visions. Deuil from Belgium took these traditional facets and incorporate it into their contemporary take on what black metal sounds like in 2013.
CVLT Nation presents Vol. I of our new mixtape series Endless Torment, over two and a half hours of underground black metal! This mix is a journey into world that has many different textures and sonic ghost swirling inside of it. Endless Torment vol.1 features songs Disguster, Leucosis, A Pregnant Light, Witch In Her,Torture Chain,Lake of Blood, Altar of Plagues and many more. Now press play and let yourself take a 2 and half hour voyage into a sea of endless torment!
When you think about Finnish black metal, bands such as Beherit, Sargeist, Behexen, Horna and Satanic Warmaster come to mind. Bands of the trve kvlt ilk, bands that deal in an unholy and orthodox sound, bands that lather the corpse paint on and wear spikes longer than is necessary and shout about Satan. All that stuff is definitely great, but Oranssi Pazuzu do not fall into that category at all. This Finnish quintet are an entirely different breed of black metal and their third full length, Valonielu is a trippy, psychedelic journey that is awash with colour and experimentation. It’s absolutely bonkers and for a lot of the running time you won’t have any idea what’s even happening to your ears. And that’s OK.
“Vino Verso” gets things underway with a steady pulsing rhythm that takes in glitches of electronic weirdness that flit in between a wonderfully crunched down guitar sound that cycles through the same sound in a repetitive and hypnotic measure. It’s a tad unnerving on first listen and Valonielu is certainly a record to spend some time with. Layers slowly reveal themselves through repeated sessions and the strangeness of it all soon becomes familiar, but no less nightmarish in scope and achievement.