Review Source: Forever Cursed
Stillborn Fawn are a black metal duet from Denver, Colorado playing a very raw and rudimentary kind of black metal. Composed mainly of guitar and drums only and harsh vocals capable of at times cause us some spine tingling, Stillborn Fawn present us “Abature”, their latest Demo released in physical format as tape by the hand of Bleak Environment, who also houses other names like Xothist for example. And what can you expect from “Abature” Demo? Well basically four awesome tracks of some unorthodox, visceral, raw black metal with a very punk vibe in it. Starting with an intro that summons the Great Goat, the black candles are now lighted and the dagger awaits on the altar as Stillborn Fawn begin their ritual. Stream the tracks, download as “name your price” (thank you Stillborn Fawn) and carve a pentagram on your forearm. Everything is now aligned…
One of my latest discoveries through one of mine incursions on Bandcamp were Hope Drone. I just bumped into them while i was checking some random black metal acts and the minute i pressed that “Play” button i was instantly surrendered to it. Hope Drone are a black metal band hailing from Brisbane, Australia formed by members that seem to also play in local bands like The Fevered, for example. Having the hand of Sanford Parker behind the production of this release and being mastered by Dan Randall (who have also worked with Ash Borer), the result here is really above the average of all the latest releases in the genre. Hope Drone’s music can be described as a more contemporary style of black metal, i can almost describe them as a more accessible version of Ash Borer, but by stating this it’s not my intention to say that they are copy cats the California band, no… don’t get me wrong. Hope Drone really took all the influences they get from new and old black metal influences and created their own vision, and what a really impressive vision it is. With such great names behind the making of this, the sound featured here on this amazing debut is at least, great. Everything is worked to the detail as the band distills some of the most blistering, rabid and extremely well executed black metal i’ve heard this year.
Read the rest of the review after the jump!
Written By Shayne Mathis
All in all, it’s a great time to be a fan of heavy music. There are an abundance of bands out there who
are either pushing the boundaries of their respective sub-genres or perfecting their sound to reach the
pinnacle of Trueness. Unfortunately, you’ve probably never heard of any of these bands. I’m not saying
that as a slight against your metal cred, but as a statement of fact. The incestuous nature of the metal
writing community all but guarantees the majority of underground bands remain that way as writers
rely on Haulix promos and PR releases to dictate what bands get coverage. I understand that it’s hard
(if not impossible) to make a living as a metal journalist in the digital age, and I know bloggers have
to chase trends to ensure constant website traffic. But the end result is that many bands are left out in
the cold as the same handful of buzz bands and albums get coverage from all of the major heavy metal
news outlets from week to week. Imperium Dekadenz is one such band that’s been largely ignored.
If you aren’t familiar with Imperium Dekadenz already, you should know that they are an
atmospheric black metal band from Germany that manage to sound simultaneously depressive and
majestic. Their previous album, Procella Vadens, was one of the best metal albums of 2010 that you
didn’t hear. Don’t make the same mistake with the band’s follow-up, Meadows of Nostalgia.
Imperium Dekadenz stay mostly true to the Norwegian black metal tradition. Meadows of Nostalgia
features plenty of buzzsaw guitars, blast beats, and raspy shrieks throughout. But there’s also a clear
bass sound, prominently featured drums, and (gasp!) some acoustic passages in the mix that sets
Imperium Dekadenz apart from many of their fellow practitioners of trve kvlt black metal.
Rhinocervs, for those unfamiliar with the group, is a label and band operated by two members as a means to distribute the music they had been working on under the guise of anonymity. I found Rhinocervs interesting in that regard, as they (potentially) function as their own musician, distributor, and label which makes their business model wholly attractive from an artistic standpoint. To add a more important note to this model it should be noted that Rhinocervs have made it a goal to prioritize releasing art, rather than create an embodied artist to represent their catalogue. In lieu of this, Rhinocervs catalog their releases very simply, as the current one is simply “RH-14.” But that’s business, and no one really likes to discuss business when they are looking to be entertained.
RH-14’s first untitled track is the largest of the three and in many ways the most full-bodied. From the get go it is reminiscent of artists such as Antediluvian who encapsulate the idea of death metal brutality and black metal form. While that sounds somewhat cliche and easily misinterpreted, don’t fret, this song is fucking pulverizing. As a sucker for the drum tone that is used on this release (and various others), I found myself wholly entertained by the force of the song. There is a deliberate idea within the first track that is melded and erected fully throughout the song’s seven minute length. It should be noted that the vocal work here is particularly enthralling; at times it feels both above and below the listener, eventually coming to a middle point in the mix and engulfing the mix fully.
FELL VOICES is a band that is pushing the boundaries of black metal to a place where feral emotions meet the sky. Starting this Friday March 29th, they are embarking on their first European tour with their fellow comrades ASH BORER.
Last week FELL VOICES ripped a hole in the stage at the ST. Vitus bar in Brooklyn and it was captured by our friend (((unartig))). After the jump check out this amazing performance plus peep their tour poster…A message to our European readers make so to catch them live when they come to your city!…Get the new FELL VOICES album Regnum Saturni euro version HERE!
On their new album Sky Burial, ECHTRA from Olympa, WA boil the concept of combining Black Metal with (Neo-) Folk down to its purest essence. Simple acoustic guitars, sometimes strummed, sometimes picked meet a basic, almost shy percussion, very seldom accompanied by half sung, half whispered vocals. Mostly an electric guitar is just present as a background for the other instruments, except for one short moment in the whole 46 minutes of the album, when all of a sudden a quavering riff breaks out, which is the strongest reference to “classic” Black Metal you’ll get to hear on this record. The rest is just as described almost trance-like, monotonous, hypnotic and overly very quiet. Thus Sky Burial creates a tranquilizing atmosphere that is able to entrap and absorb you – if you let it happen.
Somehow Sky Burial is like the acoustic intro and outro of one of your favourite Metal records, but without the Metal record in between (and lengthened to a maximum degree). I find it quite astonishing how ECHTRA takes the concept of bands like AGALLOCH or the early ULVER and really strips the whole thing down to its barest bones, so much that there’s almost nothing left. Also on a conceptual level, ECHTRA doesn’t stray away from the pagan relationship with nature that’s also present in the works of those bands.
Indiana’s Kata Sarka come out in full force with their new release Crucible of Misanthropy. Four spears of unrelenting expedient and angry thrash metal with a hint of crust searing into your skin with a bludgeoning attack.
From start to finish Kata Sarka assault with flying metal guitar riffage and pummeling drums creating the feeling of being lost and disoriented. Switching between a gargled guttural yell and howling scream, the vocals soar past like an angry wind. The band seem to go from one pummeling riff to the next, throwing in guitar solos only to heighten the anxiety, then blasting back into the relentless abuse. The music accompanies the themes brought in by the lyrics of anger with society and the normal state of affairs.
Before contacting Orion about the art, we had come up with a few ideas that we thought would be accurate visual representations of the music. We wanted to incorporate Tibetan prayer flags and a lot of open sky. We really wanted a photograph, too. All of our art in the past had been drawn, and it was awesome, but we felt like a well done photograph could more acutely capture some of the ideas we explored.
But more than specifics in regards to the imagery, we really just wanted the album to come off as classy. It was our opinion that having this look like a typical “heavy metal record” would do it a disservice. When I finally talked to Orion about our ideas, he basically read my mind. It was almost surreal. He was throwing out idea after idea that completely resonated with everything we as a band had previously discussed. When he brought up actually constructing a funeral pyre and basing a photo shoot around that I knew we were in good hands. He had our full blessing from them on. We probably took longer on picking out a font that we liked than on the actual art itself. He really knocked this one out of the park. Much love.
WITCH IN HER TOMB have down it again and created a 7″ that is full of filth that hangs from a tree of decaying emotion. This record, entitled Maleficus Maleficarum, will be released via Crippled Sounds & Tyr Records, and is a of pill of hate I want to swallow. CVLT Nation has the honor of streaming a track called “IX” from this 7″ below…
An inner picture of mental anguish, when despair becomes your only known emotion. This is about finding yourself and understanding your wicked ways. There is no turning back and there is no remorse. Witch In Her Tomb are back in full force with their ravish display of raw black metal punk. Their sound expands into a vast, unclear abyss. Mastered by Rick Winn at Enemata Productions. This is a collaborative release between Crippled Sound and Tyr Records. 100 on limited glow in the dark vinyl, and 200 pressed on black. Housed in black dust sleeves inside a single sided outer jacket.
If you’re curious about how much a Black Metal band can actually bend the term and the inscribed elements of the genre without losing the grounding, the new TOTAL NEGATION record (out 3/31/13 on Temple of Torturous) should be on your must-hear-list. This is not a self-contained full-length, but the two EPs Zur späten Stunde (“at this late hour”) und Zeiträume (“timeframes”) combined onto one carrier medium – a choice that is totally understandable when you give the eight songs a listen, because atmosphere and song-writing differs quite a lot between the two EPs. Nonetheless both parts are woven into another by the lyrical concept. In a nutshell: Zur späten Stunde deals with the psychic process sleep, whereas Zeiträume refers to the trippy state of mind when dreams and reality start to blur.
The songs of Zur späten Stunde were written years prior to Zeiträume and bridge the gap to TOTAL NEGATION’s previous album Zeitenwende, at least on the musical side of things. Wiedergänger (the individual who is TOTAL NEGATION) made sure that there are also references to his other project NACHTS (check that out here). One thing TOTAL NEGATION fantastically perfected on this EP are the so called tonal feedbacks – guitar feedback is not used as an element of noise, but as a separate instrument, playing these really unlikely melodies, something you really have to hear. Although the arrangements and riffs are quite outstanding, Zur späten Stunde obviously is a Black Metal record. Not exactly raw or super depressive, but bleak, cold and often quite doomy Black Metal, excellently performed.
Stream Zur späten Stunde here:
The second EP, Zeiträume, is something different. I mean there have been traces of Psychedelica in TOTAL NEGATION‘s music before, and there are a few bands combining somewhat psychedelic music with Black Metal, but what’s going on Zeiträume is beyond everything you’d ever expected a Black Metal artist to come up with. Wiedergänger let his devotion for Kraut Rock totally kick in, the epitome of German rock music created in the late 60ies and 70ies by hugely influential bands like CAN, NEU! or FAUST. This results in four tracks that combine the progressive, psychedelic aspirations of Kraut Rock with the atmosphere and aggression of Black Metal. “Obscure” is a term often used to describe Black Metal, but it never applied better to something than to Zeiträume. Not only do the riffs and the song structures have this Krauty feeling, there is also the heavy use of a melodica and if that wouldn’t be crazy enough, a vibraharp. Thus the music that is created is really arcane, trapping you quite often between pure astonishment and inconvenient unease. As demanding as this might be at some moments, as deeply interesting and exciting it is.
Stream Zeiträume here:
So if you’re always on the lookout for the strangest, most obscure output Black Metal has to offer, there’s no way around TOTAL NEGATION. This is really a total mind fuck, and one you have to witness yourself.