Ten From the Tomb 12/07/18: Arresting sympathetic vibrations, quietuses.

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 of the death doom metal and/or black metal releases I’ve so far overlooked this year. Consider it a soundtrack meant to distract from the malaise of seasonally intensified darkness, an opiate for the numbing senses as the world grows colder in the most literal sense. 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 death, doom, and 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 just because I missed them! 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 a biweekly poll among Patreon patrons on my Patreon, who are also listed on the Patreon Producer section of the site! Thank you all! 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.


Artist Eitr
Title [Type/Year] Hädanfärden [EP/2018]
Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Escalating orchestral hits and a familiar neon late 90’s JRPG synth tone should begin to cue the apt listener into Eitr’s relation to atmospheric black metal project Lustre. Same gentleman and same fantastic use of subtle progression throughout, this is essentially a dungeon synth album. Burzum‘s ‘Dauði Baldrs’ serves as some influence as the artist sets this work within Asgard surrounding the death of Balder by the cunning of Loki but the tones really do transport to my own associations with video game music of the late 90’s and early 00’s before orchestration and horrendous Michael Mann scores became normative. I chose ‘Hädanfärden’ for this list because it serves as a great elevation of the spirit before traversing greater atmospheric tendencies, allow Eitr to center the mind before the agony and distress cloud the mind.


Artist Iteru
Title [Type/Year] Ars Moriendi [EP/2018]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

The magia emanating from the hands of cryptic death sorcerers Iteru does not simply worship death, but calls for it. Composed of unclaimed but supposed black metal classicists out of Belgium, this sect acknowledges mankind as the sputum of disease, a biology due its extermination. Guitars create a harrowing crawl, a bellowing course of senectuous death energy beneath clangorous lead guitars. That the listener is in the hands of above average atmospheric sense becomes immediately satisfying. The scrape of the occult anti-human themes is deliverance for the deserved but if they work out a full-length it will need more than those atmospheric black metal lead guitars to generate interest. Perfect as a 35 minute death/doom EP, but if it went on any longer I would expect further variation.


Artist Unreqvited
Title [Type/Year] Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

What is the furthest extreme of post-black metal anymore? The rawest lo-fi filth and power electronics soak of niche black metal yields great discomfort but what of the other extreme? The softest, almost torturous saccharine cliches that bind post-rock and what ceases to actually resemble ‘black metal’ amounts to post-shoegaze with extreme metal vocals. This release is as far outside of black metal that post-black can go without becoming a bland study of post-music from an uninspired musician. ‘Mosaic I: l’amour et l’ardeur’ represents an unfinished work to my ears, essentially the goal was clear in creating post-black metal but instead it amounts to an unfinished and loosely realized melodic death/doom record’s softer half; That sort of beauty and the beast stuff that Peaceville is typically blamed for but modernized and given the suggestion of modernist black metal adjacency. In flipping depressive instrumental post-black music to positive vibrations Unreqvited create a ghastly styrofoam mush of sugary unblackened aimlessness, and I think it juxtaposes with various forms of death/doom metal well enough.


Artist Vanhävd
Title [Type/Year] Låt köttet dö [EP/2018]
 Rating [3.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Swedish septet Vanhävd do not create the amount of spectacle you’d expect from such a large ensemble. Their sound alternates beautifully between the suffocation of death/doom and some lightly blackened atmospheric moments. Inspired by dark fiction and an antinatalist philosophy, the concepts and poetic value of the music are almost more interesting than the actual death metal they produce. The mid-paced hit of the first two tracks are average but effective and I found little value in the third track, which features spoken word for much of its nearly 10 minute duration.


Artist Black Earth
Title [Type/Year] A Cryptic Howl of Morbid Truth [Reissue/2018]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Originally released on cassette back in 2015 this debut full-length from Spanish blackened noise artists Black Earth offers static, chaos, and pure blackened aesthetic. ‘A Cryptic How of Morbid Truth’ sounds like a degraded, garbled atmospheric black metal demo sit aflame and set beneath a layer of terror inducing electronic noise. It writhes without conscience or reason and amounts to din siphoned from Hades most of the time. Suffering, sexuality, and horror feed the subconscious full of hell and leave the mind fraught. It is an extreme outside of many comfort zones, a place where no mental fortitude should rest easily, and there is no doubt you will chip away at your sense of self resolve through repeated listening.


Artist Comatose Vigil A.K.
Title [Type/Year] Evangelium Nihil [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Moscow, Russia based funeral doom metal band Comatose Vigil appears to have shattered multiple times before formally splitting up. This version of the band comes without the blessing of co-founder Alex Orlov (Ulfdallir) and thusly includes A.K. to denote Andrey Karpukhin‘s (Abstract Spirit) version of the band. I don’t understand the marriage to the band’s name, it isn’t particularly good. If you are familiar with Comatose Vigil then little has changed in their general approach which resembles Tyranny and Shape of Despair to some degree but with some increased death metal heaviness applied at certain points. As with AK’s Abstract Spirit the keyboard work is fantastic throughout ‘Evangelium Nihil’, he uses an almost ‘horror’ inspired sound alongside the orchestral sustain typical of Scandinavian funeral doom. Very good, but it is definitely time to think up a new band name.


Artist Soul Grip
Title [Type/Year] Not Ever [Full-album/2018]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Ghent, Belgium post-black metal band Soul Grip began as a collaboration between hardcore scene musicians looking to expand their horizons. You can trust that any release you pick up from Consouling Sounds has a certain something, a modern thought, an atmospheric insight, or a resplendent melodic sense and Soul Grip‘s debut full-length is a properly cured concrete of those things. Somewhere between melodic black metal, depressive black metal, and the sort of regalia of Forteresse lies ‘Not Ever’. Each track has melody to follow, however disinclined they are to see most melodic ideas through the effect is movement all the same. It may take some personal endurance to see the whole thing through, though. Few rests are given and the middle portion of the record over stretches their semi-melodic guitar ideas thin but the early and late parts of the record provide some effective melodrama and sharp guitar work.


Artist The Crawling
Title [Type/Year] Wolves and the Hideous White [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Irish progressive death/doom metal band The Crawling resemble the sort of bands that began to pop up thanks to the popularity of early Opeth. The focus is on mid-paced death metal with a progressive approach that doesn’t fall into the gothic melodic/death doom spectrum but still feels influenced by it. An elaborate entanglement of doom riffs slowly snake into October Tide-esque death metal heaviness but fans of My Dying Bride should recognize fair glimpses of their influence on the guitar work (see: “Drowned in Shallow Water”) as well. I enjoy the starkly emotional writing and style with a fairly straightforward death/doom metal sound. Weighty and weirdly dark.


Artist Empty
Title [Type/Year] Vacio [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Twisting away from the dark fantasies of black art and unto the stark reality of existence, Spanish black metal band Empty have long set spear and arrow upon the second wave of black metal in hopes of its mutation unto greater being. Their fifth album since forming in 1995, ‘Vacio’ extends into modern black metal’s dissonant and depressive shades without taking the influence to literally. The inspiration for this albums narrative comes from Julio Llamazares‘ novel La Lluvia amarilla (1988), an exploration of the devastation felt when a culture is abandoned or erased. ‘Vacio’ takes this and builds a trip from loss to nothingness, and asserts that all things will end no matter how you struggle or fight it. Not only is this album well produced with just enough ‘edge’ but there is some admirable variety in the vocal and guitar expressions throughout, it begins to verge on progressive music as it plays. Unassuming as they have long seemed, Empty offer an arguable sleeper hit with this fifth full-length.


Artist HellLight
Title [Type/Year] As We Slowly Fade [Full-length/2018]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Active since 1996 this São Paulo, Brazilian funeral death/doom metal band conjure one of the more successful marriages of melodic death/doom and funeral doom thanks to extended atmospheric builds and consistent pacing. ‘As We Slowly Fade’ heavily favors the sort of extreme doom Mournful Congregation developed early in their life and adds melodic leads a la Doom: VS or Funeral. The effect is somewhere between later Shape of Despair and Funeral‘s ‘Tragedies’ where the feeling is ethereal and dry, rather than gothic as you might expect. The clean vocal sections don’t necessarily work for me but they are not intrusive at all.

Did I miss your favorite 2018 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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