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 2019. 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 black metal releases out this January b/w a few stragglers from last year. Consider it a soundtrack to punctuate a week of horrible diarrhea, erratic sunlight, and persistent trouble staying connected to the internet. Let this be a slight monument to internal woes, bodily failure, and a disconnection with the outside world. 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’re not into the selection this week, relax! This’ll be back every 7 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 weeks picks come from a point of personal negativity, a physical and existential malaise that I’ve felt this week. It will pass. 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.
|Title [Type/Year]||The Eternal Hunt [EP/2018]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
German atmospheric raw black metal project comes as the third in line of solo efforts from musician Stulpert (aka STLPRT). Of all of his projects, including Ås and Zalmoxis, this is perhaps the most accessible and normative. Not quite as emotive as Blurr Thrower but similarly conceived, I can see some interesting potential explored here among regal guitar lines and cthonic vocal layers. There is maniacal spirituality and deathly ailment expressed in the course of ‘The Eternal Hunt’ and that ‘unhinged devout’ feeling appreciates with familiarity. This single consists of one roughly 20 minute track that explores the experimental and long-winded side of Dutch and French atmospheric post-black metal without resorting to soft and/or nutless guitar work. STLPRT has a strong, darkly esoteric point of view and I really appreciate all of his work. If this intrigues you, consider checking out his split with Wintaar which served as my introduction to this project.
|Title [Type/Year]||Reign of the Unending [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [4.25/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
In the wake of Fallen Empire Records‘ burst of releases before closure comes perhaps the finest release to date from New Jersey black metal band Death Fortress. Know for their suffocating somber subtlety and rapacious speed this release brings additional emotive quality to the music in building upon the already striking significance of ‘Triumph of the Undying’ (2017); This feeling might’ve been there before on previous records but I think the band have done a lot to differentiate themselves from the heavy influence of Russian and Ukranian groups like Hate Forest and Walknut. The mid-to-late Immortal influences felt in the grand scale of J. Aversario‘s guitar work are incredibly considered and undiluted when taking into account how many projects he devoted himself to in 2018 (Siege Column, Damnation Lust, Jaws of Hades, Massive Retaliation) many of which occurred in collaboration with T. Warrior including ‘Reign of the Unending’. Though I am impressed to no end by the musicians involved little of that factors into my enjoyment of this album, it rolls, barks, snarls and blasts by its own grandiose merit. Surely overlooked on the tail-end of 2018 but nonetheless viable today.
|Title [Type/Year]||Aligned With the True Death [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
The return of Finnish symphonic/industrial black metal band Trollheims Grott after fifteen years off almost appears to be longing for a return of the old ways. ‘Alinged With the True Death’ sounds as if it were plucked from the cutting room of 2004 when bands like Thyrane, …And Oceans, and to some degree Dødheimsgard were all taking bets on the futuristic state of black metal. This record does little to grow beyond the slick pretentiousness of the era though the symphonic elements remain subdued beyond ‘Bizarre Troll Technology’ (2001). A pure late 90’s black metal album at heart, this will be effective nostalgia for many but, perhaps not from a band that many folks won’t recognize outside of Finland or Woodcut Records appreciators. Though I’ve been reductive here, this is a good effort. Polished production and a well designed package should at least serve the interested a strong and memorable product.
|Title [Type/Year]||A Sire to the Ghouls of Lunacy [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Pennsylvania avant-black/death metal duo Veilburner have long been class sound designers when considering the unique palette of riff and extraneous psychedelia that they employ on each of their four full-lengths. This latest offering ‘A Sire to the Ghouls of Lunacy’ does little to remedy the main issue I take with their general output in the sense that they create curious modern sounds and write fairly thoughtless and uninteresting songs. As much as I do like psychedelic outsider black metal in general, the use of dissonance and discord do little for me without memorable arrangement. So, I do think there is enough to recommend here to folks looking to be inspired by otherworldly noise but those looking for the sort of groove-throttled Behemoth-esque riffs this band excelled at early on might find this record meatless. The bigger picture, and actual sound, of the album is undeniably impressive all the same.
|Title [Type/Year]||Ascensão do Impiedoso [Demo/2019]|
|Rating [4.25/5.0]||BUY on War Arts Productions store! | SoundCloud|
What horror rises from the crypts of Portugal’s modern black metal scene is so uniformly true, raw and evil that it begins to feel like a true movement in a time where raw black metal rarely perks the trendier side of black metal output as a whole. Graves stands out immediately in any field for their ragged, raw insanity and this is especially true for their upcoming debut ‘Liturgia da Blasfemia’ (Iron Bonehead, February 1, 2019) but the sudden unleashing of this demo nearly sounds like another band. ‘Ascensão do Impiedoso’ (War Arts Productions, January 18, 2019) is a demo and that is more or less all of the actual information I have on the recording. It comes less than a year since their primitive ‘Unholy Desecration’ (Signal Rex, 2018) demo and shows an incredibly evolved guitar performance that is sickly melodic in the death trance that it spews. By the halfway point of the second track, “Destruiçao da Sagrada Mentira”, I felt as if I’d been cranked in the sternum with a shotgun. Though I will do a full review for ‘Liturgia da Blasfemia’ I can easily say that I prefer the style and sound of this demo far, far more. I was almost sure that this was a different Graves until I paid closer attention to the literature provided with the copy, it is that much more driven by subtle melodic rhythms. The best black metal I’ve yet heard in January.
|Title [Type/Year]||Temple of Skies [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Originally self-released back in April 2017 ‘Temple of Skies’ came from the intermittently prone to record (American?) black metal artist Tempestarii, of which there is little to no information outside of various compelling interviews. Why is it worth mentioning? The digipack release would be its first issue on compact disc, the above-average atmospheric black metal within is worthy enough for the era as their rawer production is heaver than the comparable melodies from Fellwarden but not developed enough to outshine a band like Falls of Rauros circa 2017. It wasn’t that long ago, though, and all of those records hold up pretty well.
|Title [Type/Year]||Dysangelist [2XLP Vinyl Remaster/2019]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Treasured by many for his intensely atmospheric depressive/suicidal funeral black/doom metal excess Nicosia, Cyprus musician Dictator would self-produced, record and mix his debut full-length back in 2008. His early demos had, along with Nortt and a few others, helped create a surge of interest in black metal / funeral doom crossovers and though he would deliver an unforgettable 70+ minute opus with a distinct sound the remaster for vinyl from Greg Chandler (Cruciamentum, Landskap, Spearhead, & countless more) at Priory Recording Studio lends a hand to the entire dynamic of the experience with a good scrub of its brittleness. The warmth injected into it’s cold hissing sorrow now reads doubly grand in its ebbing funereal drift. A must listen for any black/funeral doom fan who appreciates cinematic doom treachery among their floaty black metal.
|Title [Type/Year]||A Noite dos Tempos [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Though not the first masterpiece to come from Portuguese black metals elite Aldebaran Circle (Ordem Satanica, Trono Alem Morte, Occelenbriig, Voemmr) this is one of the most impressive raw and atmospheric black metal undertakings of 2018. It is so much more than a mere black metal album, though, as the enormity of talent available for the deathly reverberations of Degredo‘s devotional ritual ambient treatment of the genre. It represents the most tribal utterings from Urfaust while approaching ecstatic levels of atmospheric resonance. If you love the movement towards power electronics, harsh noise, and general noise in black metal consider this an extreme deviation that will defeat your mind. “Parte Três” removes me from my body and stains my consciousness deeper with each listen, it truly creates the feeling of the souls descent out of form. It represents a possession with myriad tortured spectres strumming your sinews with dread and fear like a great lute that would reshape the cosmos into chasm. An incredible 75 minute album that you should give several full listens as a matter of building character through the void’s enlightenment.
|Title [Type/Year]||Stogn z Niebyćcia [Full-length/2018]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!|
Minsk, Belarus raw and misanthropic black metal band Niezgal would come to an end after guitarist Stogn (Pavel Shpak) hung himself in December of 2015. Having left behind guitar rehearsal tapes enough for new material after death Stogn‘s final compositions would live on with the posthumous production and release of ‘Stogn z Niebyćcia’ (Handful of Hate, December 30, 2018). Performed entirely by members of black metal artist collective Niemaracz Clan and Niezgal bassist P.Z., this couldn’t be a better sendoff for the talented guitarist who excelled within aggressive and melodic compositions. This does feel appropriately raw as the completion of a demo guitar work it feels almost like a Sargeist (or Horna)-esque treatment of Niezgal‘s typically polished previous works, see: ‘Statut’ (2015). A dark and sinister blast of darkness prior to suicide does lend a higher art connotation (eh, context) to this work, though I’d still say ‘Stogn z Niebyćcia’ does easily stand on its own as a follow-up to the previous album albeit with a great divergence in style. No doubt this was a difficult feat to perform and curate so, I am grateful to have experienced it.
|Title [Type/Year]||In Synergy Obscene [Full-length/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||LISTEN to “True Endless” on YouTube!|
Kümmersbruck, Germany based symphonic black metal maestro Lord Esgaroth (Tobias Micko) would spend 1994 through 2009 working diligently at his highly progressive symphonic black metal project Suffering Souls; A full decade hiatus prior to this fourth album ‘In Synergy Obscene’ (Schwarzdorn Productions, January 25, 2019) provided enough distance to date and alienate Lord Esgaroth’s now novel vision. This record comes with a welcome flair for dramatics and the old awkward pre-millennium rock-ishness from post-Emperor symphonic black metal artists. I personally still enjoy some of the really wild viking and symphonic black metal combinations of the late 90’s/early 00’s and a few releases from bands like Vesperian Sorrow, Nebular Moon, or Limbonic Art but Suffering Souls is far more subdued in terms of pace and guitar riff driven moments. While I find the symphonic elements triumphant and the overall fanfare of ‘In Synergy Obscene’ captivating, the lack of guitar attack leaves the poorly mixed drums to do a bit too much of the work. This is the sort of album I tend to enjoy for what it evokes with a well-conceptualized and arranged approach but I don’t find the compositions themselves resonate beyond a few listens. A triumph as a return beyond a decade’s drift but I was left wanting some of the thrashier aggression of the previous records.
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