Ten From the Tomb 11/16/18: Sero, negare nostrae animae.

TEN FROM THE TOMB is a weekly feature in the form of a themed list devoted to grouping together albums of similar interest that I missed throughout the year. These albums were overlooked for review for any number of reasons with the most common reason being constraints of time. I have a policy of covering 99% of everything I receive in some form, be it mini-review or full-feature, so don’t hesitate to send anything and everything my way.

Here I present a ten album sampler of some generally atmospheric, raw, or melodic black metal releases I’ve so far overlooked this year. Consider it a soundtrack to not feeling the sun’s rays for a months time and developing a dependence upon dead-eyed sketch comedy, Vitamin D supplements, and ‘Nothing but Black Metal November’ blog lists to sustain any motivation to resist a mental hibernation. Most of these albums made it here to Ten From the Tomb because I couldn’t manage the time for a long-form review or because I really didn’t have more than a paragraph or two worth of insight beyond banal description. If you don’t like black metal, relax! This’ll be back every seven days with 10 more albums from different styles, genres, themes, etc.

Hey! Don’t dive in thinking this will all be shit. I always have some quality control in mind and looked for expressive, meaningful or just damn heavy releases that hold value without gimmickry or bland plagiarism. This week’s inspiration came from the chilling dread I felt walking out into the 4:30 pm dusk and wetness of our insufferably mild Seattle winter. Think my opinions are trash and that I suck? Want to totally tell me off, bro? Click away and let’s all live more sensible lives full of meaningful interactions. I’m too old and bored with people to care.


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Artist Adverso
Title [Type/Year] Ex Inanis [Demo/2018]
Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Purodium’s BigCartel!

Adverso captures the tortured primal self, the rotting animal of man that exists quarantined in the echo chambers of existence and celebrates the void of possibilities with ‘Ex Inanis’. Pulled from emptiness, from nothingness, his guitar work and general atmospheric black metal style appears dry and ringing on this demo and there is a sort of Austere/early Woods of Desolation sense of movement that drives the demo but with some of the wandering ‘occult’ spirit that defines Spanish/Portugese atmospheric black metal in most cases. There is no scene and no ‘self’ that Adverso exists within and I can appreciate the futility of the entity laid bare in materializing this moving, raw-yet-atmospheric music. It won’t change your life but it has a chance of dragging you down into the inhumane void that inspires it.


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Artist Clandestine Blaze
Title [Type/Year] Tranquility of Death [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

In his twentieth year of notoriety Mikko Aspa remains an important figure in black metal not only for his work as Clandestine Blaze and Stabat Mater but also as vocalist for Deathspell Omega as well as his involvement in many underground labels. On this tenth full-length from Clandestine Blaze since 1998 he slightly revives that broken feeling and slightly raw riff style (see: Judas Iscariot) that had been lacking on the previous two. The compositions are simple yet entrancing with dynamic changes that never serve to interrupt the captivating flow of their extrusion. There is more numbing darkness intended here than the usual iciness and it begins to feel almost like atmospheric death metal in certain places. Inspiring but not as mind-altering as he is capable of being.


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Artist Pa Vesh En
Title [Type/Year] Church of Bones [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [2.75/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Lost in the muddy bass and pushed far beyond arm’s reach with synthetic studio reverb, there is little I can tout in praise of Belarus based atmospheric raw black metal project Pa Vesh En. To discover the nuance buried in the blurry atmospherics of ‘Church of Bones’ is less compelling than it was mildly disappointing. The first couple of listens were filled with wonder and some enjoyment of the groaning ambiance of the pieces but the grainy static at the top of the mix and the intentional coating of mud atop the songs is beyond my own threshold for pain. The horror of this self-stifling studio created lo-fi approach always appears as a mask for ideas that don’t warrant grand confidence. It is a shame because I think there is a pretty decent atmospheric black metal band underneath the layers of intentional murk.


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Artist Γνόφος [Gnophos]
Title [Type/Year] Κατάνυξη [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

If you found the Eriphion releases from earlier this year fairly interesting then Gnophos will sound and look familiar. Perhaps related in some way the two projects share similar programmed drum sounds and a semi-melodic style of second wave black metal that’d have fit in the early part of the decade before symphonic elements mutated its vision. The record is fairly average in style and approach and pulls most of its interest from themes surrounding Eastern Orthodox Christianity with lyrics taken directly from the Bible and old Christian texts. I do not personally support religion of any kind but I did enjoy this album as a standard and unchallenging black metal listen.


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Artist Rodent Epoch
Title [Type/Year] Rodentlord [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Formed as From the North in 2002 and then Rodent Epoch since 2009 the Oulu, Finland musicians involved in the making of ‘Rodentlord’ can rest proud in knowing that their debut full-length is one of the most energizing, riff-fueled black metal albums of the year. The use the rawness of Azaghal, the thrashing stoicism of Horna, and the growling abandon of the post-2005 black n’ roll waves make for a thrilling if not slightly tunnel vision inducing listening experience. ‘Rodentlord’ is just a set of riffs stacked up in a row that fall like pestilential dominoes before it ends and it plays out a bit like an old British crust punk album in the sense that it just bangs out riffs as hard as it can for the first half and then pushes the slow and longer tracks to the back of the album. Their songwriting is far more interesting when they stick within the 4-5 minute mark as “Red Heavens” and “Funeral Master” both feel artificially extended and repetitive compared to the rest of the tracks on the album. The energy here is great and reasonably inspiring and if not for a few big flaws I’d consider this one of the better black metal ‘pleasure’ listens of the year.


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Artist Malepeste / Dysylumn
Title [Type/Year] Ce qui fut, Ce qui est, Ce qui sera [Split LP/2018]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

A split between two progressive black metal projects that are uniquely intertwined in that they are from the same area in France and both often collaborate in live performances. Malepeste are comprised of ex-members of Art of Necromancy and describe themselves as ‘ritual black metal’ which is applicable in terms of feeling but you’ll more than likely find their sound progressive and entirely too focused on vocal performances, at times it seems as if the vocalist intended to drown out the guitars with his multi-tracked and nearly constant shouting throughout every track. Dysylumn are similar but with a less occluded atmospheric value driving the experience, which is a sort of functionally dissonant black/death metal trip. It isn’t a huge surprise that both bands share members of Ominous Shrine  just in the sense that these are occult/atmospheric black metal projects that think slightly outside of the norm.


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Artist Fluisteraars / Turia
Title [Type/Year] De Oord [Split LP/2018]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

If the shoegazing atmospheric traipsing of Solar Temple piqued your interest in the Netherlands based projects (Fluisteraars and Turia) that convened to form it, here are both rivers converging on ‘De Oord’; A collaborative split acts as a musing upon unity through a parable of two rivers meeting showcases the growth of both projects as they both progress beyond their second full-lengths. Fluisteraars is atmospheric black metal intent on subtlety as their sound begins to fully move outside of the realm of black metal towards downtempo rock and shoegaze that remains aggressive. Where I personally become impressed is in the compositional subtlety of Omar K. (Turia, Solar Temple, Iskandr, etc.) as he has been both prolific and surprisingly tasteful in his examinations of post-black and atmospheric black metal. Turia is perhaps the middle ground of his many projects and appears as the darkest of his works next to Iskandr. Themes of rivers, flow, unity, and harmony with nature all work very well in tandem with the music here and this split serves as a very good introduction to both artists.


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Artist Eadem
Title [Type/Year] Luguber [Demo/2018]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Though their demos offered spirited alchemical blackened ritual much the same with ‘Luguber’ Netherlands (by way of Portugal) based trio Eadem create a clangor amidst subtle hallucinatory tracers amidst flitting guitars and chanted vocal. Theurgistic magicians or just drunk avant-metal fools, either way this EP should mystify and frustrate with its unnatural, hypnotic sound and lo-fi psychedelic approach. It somewhat reminded me of avant-black metal from Norway along with the sort of stuff Twilight/Nachtmystium were toying with before self-immolating.


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Artist Weltschmerz
Title [Type/Year] Illustra Nos [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [2.75/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

A solid 40 minutes of post-black, black/death, and dark metal from members of death metal band Iron Harvest and crust punk influenced black metal project Grafjammer. This is an inspired and almost progressive minded black metal album that is actually typical for the Netherlands black metal scene of today as evidenced by the variety among Turia and Eadem before it on this list. This is the type of album that I begin very enthusiastic about and then over time I lose interest. I didn’t end up reviewing it because I felt like it reached to a far too ambitious place and they couldn’t keep up with their own ideas. Of course that is insufferably ironic considering the band’s name.


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Artist Lifelost
Title [Type/Year] Dialogues From Beyond [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

This dissonant black metal comes as the solo project of Spanish musician Phlegethon (J.L. Rey) who is best known for his surreal guitar work in brutal/technical death metal band Wormed. The style of black metal is jagged, technical, and will be immediately resonant with fans of Deathspell Omega influenced groups like Devouring Star, Thantifaxath, and Dysangelium. His guitar work is fluid and engaging with extensive surreal passages but there is a sort of flatness to the recording that comes from the programmed drums where the hats and cymbals sound incredible artificial. Though some of the record’s issue hamper its atmospheric value the guitar work is generally very good, so I recommend a listen with some small hesitation. Tons of potential for this take on dissonant black metal but I’d like to see if he can make it his own the way Wormed did with their brand of brutal death.


Did I miss your favorite 2018 black metal album? I’d like to know if there are any 2018 releases you loved that didn’t get enough recognition. Drop me a line to tell me! It is always worthwhile to speak up for the lesser known stuff. Please remember you can contribute to my Patreon @ only $1 USD per month ($12 a year) to help keep me in front of the computer writing about metal. Thanks.

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