Ten From the Tomb 5/06/19: Deranged by the environs of collective pain.

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 requests from independent bands/labels (including black, death, thrash, hardcore, post-rock, grind, etc.) from early 2019. Consider it a glimpse into the underground, a deep gaze upon bands refined enough to be signed and celebrated as the perforate the ceiling above. 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 am not doing full reviews for these releases! I always have some quality control in mind and look for expressive, meaningful, or just damn heavy releases that hold value without gimmickry or bland plagiarism. This weeks picks come directly from folks who e-mailed me with their upcoming (or past) releases, I’ve picked the very best from bands and smaller labels that I absolutely love. For the next two weeks the topic will be decided by PATREON patrons, who vote on a poll for Ten From the Tomb every two weeks. Thank you! I am eternally grateful for the support of readers and appreciate the friendly and positive interactions I’ve had with all thus far. 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 Refusal
Title [Type/Year] Epitome of Void [Full-length/2019]
Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Active since 2008 and having released numerous demos between a handful of line-up changes throughout the years we’d finally gotten the first banger from Helsinki, Finland deathgrind/crust bruisers Refusal in 2016 with ‘We Rot Within’. That debut was vicious, pit-worthy death metal a la early Rotten Sound and early 2000’s Napalm Death and thankfully three years later they’re back with an even bigger and more badass set of deathgrind riffs to gut-punch the puke out of you with. ‘Epitome of Void’ has a nice growling ‘old school’ death metal tone and plenty of moshable riffs but, surely a 2000’s ‘European deathgrind’ vibe overall. Refusal don’t go full-bore Nasum or Insect Warfare but they sound like a band that’d have shared a stage with them back in the day, they’re fully capable of death metal, too; “Slaves” and basically anytime the band focus a bit more the death metal side of things shows the strength of their style. Straightforward, stripped down, and brutal as hell stuff.


Artist Hellfire
Title [Type/Year] Pain Will Never End [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Originally active in the early 90’s this Santiago, Chile based thrash metal band would call it quits in 1993 and pick up in 2000 eventually releasing their self-titled debut in 2007. It’d be another ten years of waiting for their ‘Dios de la Inmoralidad’ EP in 2017 and thankfully they’ve kept that line-up going strong enough that we got ‘Pain Will Never End’ in late 2018. Hellfire‘s style is what I’d consider a sort of ‘witching’ metal sound as in early Sodom with a bit of rasp in the vocals but, also hits of Swedish thrash n’ roll riffs (later Carcass?) and powerfully thrashing South American 80’s death metal. Their sound is a bit of old and a bit of new, something you could expect from Chile (see: Warchest) but, all of it moves at such a fiery pace that it works well enough to please an ‘old school’ addict like me.


Artist Azator
Title [Type/Year] Horrors From Aeons Past [EP/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Active initially from 2006 until 2009 this Buenos Aires, Argentina blackened thrash quartet wouldn’t leave much more than a two song demo from 2008 in their midst. They had more songs, of course, and most of those wouldn’t see any commitment to tape until 2015 when ‘Horrors From Aeons Past’ was recorded and then mixed in 2018. I’m guessing the delay had to do with life commitments and self-funding the whole thing but it was all worth the wait as far as I’m concerned. Azator play a form of thrash metal influenced black metal that is often mid-paced and almost ‘epic’ in feeling. This EP is fantastic for folks who love early Hellenic black metal and that eastern European scene of the late 80’s in terms of black metal though at the end of the day they are still essentially a thrash-driven project. “Gods of Nagash” more or less shows each side of the bands strengths and here’s hoping they continue writing songs like this as I think they were onto something back in the day. The band are working on a new LP that’ll come whenever it is finished but in the meantime this is a great introduction to the band as it also includes both tracks from their 2008 demo as well.


Artist Trespasser
Title [Type/Year] Чому не вийшло? [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Here we have something unorthodox, from… Sweden? Ah, well fans of the first real wave of melodic black/death metal from the Stockholm scene will get their orthodox-tuned sense sated by Trespasser‘s sound and fury but they’ve gone a bit rogue in terms of slashing in a few punkish riffs and defiant anarcho-righteous lyrical themes. Just as their approach to lyrics is unique, so is their craft of melodic black metal ideas and it is a glorious and exciting thing. You, as I, likely missed out on this as it released quietly in late 2018 but we can finally celebrate the limited vinyl release of ‘Чому не вийшло?’ which has of course already sold out of its fancy gold color variant but the black is still up for grabs. As the duo have stated, this is perhaps the first ‘serious’ release from Trespasser and as such if you’re high off of their Unanimated style sound and decide to dig through their demos and such you’ll find a bit lower quality affair. I love the subverted expectations as I was expecting Swedish d-beat and instead got a blazing, ruinous and existentially defiant black metal record.


Artist Dreams of the Drowned
Title [Type/Year] Dreams of the Drowned I [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [4.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp! | Duplicate Records soon!

Though I may decide to review this in full when it releases on Duplicate Records in September, I could not go another day without talking about the first full-length from French musician Camille and his impressive solo project Dreams of the Drowned. ‘Dreams of the Drowned I’ is something else entirely, a rejection of black metal norms that is likewise suffocated by that sonic excess and birthed as a great totem to the unbridled insanity it offers. Dreams of the Drowned is the psychedelic essence of noise rock and experimental black metal attuned into glorious dis-harmonic dread. The album is an energetic burst, not a far cry from Urarv‘s uncontrollable essence (Camille mixed/mastered both Urarv releases), the warbling rush of Code, and just enough of the spirit of Ved Buens Ende bleeds through to give it a wickedly disjointed ache that appears to have a message and an impressive vision that took a decade to finally complete. There is an absolutely electric spirit in these pieces and not just within the wrangled guitar shapes and ethereal vocals but the energetic pulse of it all, it doesn’t feel dangerously manic but enlightened in some dark way that becomes compelling as the album plays on. The album also includes a Dodheimsgard cover featuring Aldrahn himself on vocals. Even if you don’t think that sound might be for you, at least try “Real and Sound” and “Crawl of Concretes” as these songs are truly transformative.


Artist Monograf
Title [Type/Year] Nadir [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

To happen upon a work of tireless effort and obsessive detail is honestly not that common in the realm of post-rock. Today, especially here in the United States, post-rock is the sort of starting point for a lot of shitty ‘college’ rock bands who find a few chords and jangle them hoping to ‘fall into some pussy, or money’ along the way. So, you can excuse me for avoiding a lot of post-rock that comes my way because, as often as the substance comes by chance the effort is so rarely evident. It is an effortless sort of music anyhow, right? Atmospheric values are a huge point of reason within the sub-genre and for Oslo, Norway collective Monograf they’re not only a point of style but a sacred vessel for nuance and emotive value. ‘Nadir’ is an act of community in this sense, that Monograf wouldn’t press any piece that wouldn’t benefit the people who’d experience it. That central goal of enrichment finds their music complex yet unrighteously delivered with a heart of oaken Norwegian folk affect. That Norse exoticism ebbs from luminous, cascading post-rock progressions with crystalline questioning of greed, contemplation of the miser’s self-ruin, and the cruel mobilization of societies against their most vulnerable populations. “Nadir” is so beautifully humbling and earnest as a single piece but when it bleeds into the stunning folk of “Golden Calf” a real magic happens that transcends post-rock/folk humility and begins to show the progressive rock influence that creates the strengthened bones of ‘Nadir’. This sets Monograf apart from their many contemporaries while still seeming relevant to other class acts like Spurv, a bit bigger heart and a well-meaning mind.


Artist Hanormale
Title [Type/Year] Reborn in Butterfly [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Hanormale is quite the oddity as the project hails from Lombardy, Italy but expresses a huge appreciation for Japanese mythology. Mastermind Arcanus Incubus has spent the last several decades involved in ambitious and deeply detailed avant-black metal projects such as Labyrinthus Noctis, Mortualia Nocturnum, and Mystical Fullmoon so it’d be easy to assume where Hanormale was coming from with this third full-length. Exceptionally avant-garde, often leaning into jazz-fusion you’d expect from certain Sigh records, the entirety of ‘Reborn in Butterfly’ is almost too much to take in in the space of a full listen and I found myself needing to take a break every couple of songs and breathe a bit. It isn’t that they’re so densely arranged or exhausting but generally very chaotic and mind-altering as they progress. I won’t say that every moment is pleasant at all, though, and some of the tracks erupt into strange bouts of nonsense that I don’t fully understand. There are quite a few strange moments that I think at least break the overtly serious feeling of the piece, such as “GhettoBlaster BlackMetal” which absolutely had to have been made with a bit of fun in mind. I found I’d get a bit lost halfway through and felt that the full 72 minute length was too much in the long run.


Artist Perished
Title [Type/Year] Through the Black Mist [Reissue/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

‘Through the Black Mist’ was the second demo from ambitious Hommelvik, Norway black metal band Perished, who had expanded to a six piece band at the time by including a second guitarist and a keyboardist. Throughout the ages this demo has long been celebrated as both a well-hidden gem of the early Norwegian boon in the second wave and (to some) a relatively average piece. I am in the camp that finds it to be a well-hidden gem from the best traditions of black metal. This was a time of experimentation and excess and to see a sextet of musicians coming together for a demo like this meant they were serious and ambitious, and I believe ‘Through the Black Mist’ fills those expectations perfectly. A lot of folks compare this record to early Dimmu Borgir and Satyricon simply for their relative time and place but, melodically speaking this was actual leagues and years ahead of either band as several of these tracks, such as “The Perfect Face of Death”) are years more mature than either band would be until about 1996 or so. This would translate to their debut full-length, ‘Kark’ (1998), soon enough but it is worth noting that Perished were absolutely not a typical Norwegian black metal band even as they achieved more grand production values; The absolute flow of the guitar work is graceful, ominous, but never grotesquely heavy but on ‘Through the Black Mist’ the one time inclusion of second guitarist Tyr saw some more raw heaviness creeping in. This is where I find this demo most interesting, as a sort of experimental line-up that worked quite well but didn’t fit the direction the band would soon head in. At 37 minutes it will feel like a long lost album and the quality of the demo is professional enough that it’ll please folks as an overlooked gem or a celebrated re-invigoration of a lost entry into the midst of Norway’s second wave explosion.


Artist Kavod
Title [Type/Year] Wheel of Time [EP/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

A ritualistic doom metal band from Perugia, Italy that should quickly appeal to fans of Om, Zaum, and possibly the more chill side of Ufomammut. I’d like to say I hear a bit of Dark Buddha Rising in there too but I don’t think ‘Wheel of Time’ has such a unique approach to rhythm and none of the ‘tribal’ sensibilities of the groups previously mentioned. There is a great meditative quality to these songs and each has its own bit of interest, however subtle, that differentiates their separate experience. Nothing about this release drove me wild but I think any one of the tracks could be mesmerizing if left on repeat for a while longer.


Artist Ovaryrot
Title [Type/Year] Non-Flesh Scarring [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Experimental noise/deathgrind duo Ovaryrot release their sixth full-length since forming in 2007. With members split between the United States and Sweden and considering the style of music they’re cranking out it’d be easy to assume this shit was cheap and dumb but there is at least some art to the mania of ‘Non-Flesh Scarring’. I really appreciate the big DVD case for the CD release and the wild collage art that covers every inch of the inserts and booklet. It seems as if they’d put in a lot of effort into the packaging and in finding a similarly dark and crazed collage of sounds for the record itself, which alternates between wild deathgrind, psychedelia, and bouts of harsh noise. It isn’t the most proficient guitar album of all time but it is entertaining nonetheless for its detailed anti-composition and quirk-crammed presentation.

Did I miss your favorite 2019 album? Send me an e-mail and tell me about it. 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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