Ten From the Tomb 8/05/19: If Hell is what awaits me, I feel no fright.

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 constraint 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 absolute best of my black metal review backlog. Consider it a look at albums I liked and/or loved but had nothing to say about. 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. Although I’ve discontinued the Patreon campaign for Grizzly Butts this feature will remain unchanged, I just wanted full independence for every aspect of the site. 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.


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

A thousand commendations to any man who’d ever lived to bask in the heat of an auld church as it were burning to the ground. I can only imagine the primordial release of the ‘souls’ trapped in the pews spiriting the flames to the height of trees. Anyhow, Swedish black metal band Domgård arrived as a cult in the late 90’s black metal scene and wouldn’t see any fruition until about another decade due to incarceration and some other projects. The current membership has evolved from Cursed 13, Dark Funeral, and Grá collaborators. As you might expect their last few records have featured a deeper melodic focus with some gentler folkish elements making their way in around the edges.  As a die-hard Swedish black metal fan, particularly the mid-90’s melodic type, I’ve found Domgård create an incredibly gratifying form of black metal that is both ancient and cold at first but also warmly modern as their sound slowly unfolds itself across ten very regal and oft-melodic black metal songs.

Back in 2017 I adored ‘Ödelagt’ and heralded the return of Vindkall on vocals/guitars because I believe his melodic sense brings an austere subtlety that is hard to find among modern Swedish black metal today. ‘Rót’ is not a simple follow up to ‘Ödelagt’ but a crystalline expansion, a grand and ambitious set of songs that create beauteous and modern atmosphere without ever sacrificing the impact of their craft. It is a ‘prettier’ album compared to the last, with many more restful moments that appear influenced by both classic atmospheric black metal, something close to early Ulver here and there. I love what Carnal Records are carving out for themselves these last several years and ‘Rót’ is remarkable as a new frontispiece. Hugely underrated release, so far. “Sejdmannens Drömmar” must be heard!


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Artist Triste Terre
Title [Type/Year] Grand Œuvre [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Dubbed as an occult atmospheric black metal band and essentially naming this debut full-length as a display of great capability it is some great surprise that French musician Naâl lives up to the lofty assumptions one could make of Triste Terre‘s first album. One of the more instantly notable points of character comes with the use of a contrabass, by way of A.Varenne, which gives the ranting ‘shout at the sky’ modus of Triste Terre a warm and eclectic quality, something to ground the dramatic heights. ‘Dramatic heights’ is almost an understatement as most of the song structures here give the feeling of ascension with purpose rather than dissolution downward as most atmospheric black metal tends. Lyrics touch upon the alchemical, philosophical and spiritual often from the voice of gods, in tribute to them, or as deeper ritual or aphorism. It is confounding prose at times but always with restraint, something to think over and find meaning within.

“Nobles Luminaires” is where I began to feel like there was ulterior depth within ‘Grand Œuvre’ and what I mean by that is that Triste Terre work in layers that appear linear but at a pace that obscures the deeper melodic voice within each extended song. It begins to ring through as a sort of apathy at first but then a soaring medieval ditty might reveal itself were it not for the slower motion the album uses to build cinematic ‘post-black’ tensions. There is a lot to love here but I found the more I write about this album the more abstract my thought process becomes and any draft I’d managed previous could be succinct praise instead. This one should be at the top of the ‘to do’ listen for the patient side of atmospheric black metal fandom, it rewards whatever meditation you allow it.


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Artist Esoctrilihum
Title [Type/Year] The Telluric Ashes of the Ö Vrth Immemorial Gods [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

What took so long? Well, slow down first of all I would assume most folks are still digesting the two enormous works Asthâghul published last year both of which were almost too dense for their own good. Esoctrilihum is the masterwork of yet another solo artist from the French black metal collective who deals in the abstract, the lengthy epic that seems to pour from him naturally, quickly, and in creation of experiences that are movement based and not necessarily powerful in their details so much as they are spectacles in motion. ‘The Telluric Ashes of the Ö Vrth Immemorial Gods’ is his fourth album and his absolute best, most structured work yet thanks to some greater focus on moments that create memories through repetition and guitar lines that create scenes to inhabit rather than spectacle to observe. Ævangelist, early The Ruins of Beverast, and Autokrator should come to mind both for their obscuring auras and viper-like strikes of guitar work. It’d be fair to suggest that there are more death metal inspired moments on this album compared to the previous two but always in creation of contrasting textures. It does all clash in terms of musicality but in terms of pure rhythmic texture the flow of the album is an imposing bout of push-and-pull moments that make for a roller coaster rather than a luge. “Stone of Static Void” is such an incredible song, really anchors the 70+ minute length of the thing.


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Artist Yellow Eyes
Title [Type/Year] Rare Field Ceiling [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Record labels never cease to amaze me in that the truly great ones see potential before the average listener might. No doubt the general public have been ingratiating towards Yellow Eyes as their mix of dissonant and avant-garde black metal techniques crosses over with the atmospheric/post-black metal side of things. Think of it as if Antaeus were to write using Austere‘s musical language, or consider the more experimental side of Krallice, or… shoegaze covers of Weakling? However you decide to slice it, ‘Rare Field Ceiling’ is the point of no return for Yellow Eyes as the New York city band deliver upon the potential I’d first seen within ‘Sick With Bloom’ (2015) where melody would peek through the veil the guitars would create. I’ve definitely struggled with putting into words as to why I feel this is the best rendering of Yellow Eyes‘ sound, and set of songs at that, and mostly due to it being such a multifaceted and flow-based release that is meticulously arranged into deliberate movements.

“No Dust” is probably the greatest point of impact for my taste because for all of the semi-melodic black metal twang and dissonance employed, it still whips out hooks amidst the dirges as if it were some mangled Pale Saints cover; The ending of that song brings up another important aspect of the album where field recordings, non-traditional percussion, and atmospheric sounds are tied into the end and beginning of each piece as if they were sewing together the theme of the whole with moments that are more than just transitions between songs. The gist of my feelings on this record is that it is the very best thing Yellow Eyes have done and now is the right time to take notice of what the group are coming up with, much like their labelmates False and Falls of Rauros‘ recent releases this finds an already inspired black metal sound and produces a high watermark release for each. That said there are a few points where the dissonance is obtuse, almost too hallucinogenic to make sense in the flow of a song (i.e. the middle of “Light Delusion Curtain”). Definitely took me by surprise and is well worth a try for folks who might not be inclined towards atmospheric/post-black metal but do enjoy dissonance and experimentation.


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Artist Zloslut
Title [Type/Year] Sahar [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

What began as a solo project of Belgrade, Serbia musician Agnarion would become a full-fledged band after the release of ‘U transu sa nepoznatim siluetama’ (2015) and ‘Sahar’ marks the first record with Zloslut as a full band. Angarion is yet young but already very wise in his grand vision for the band which has turned towards an almost Blut Aus Nord influenced melodic style that never goes fully dissonant or abrasive. There is a bit of Norwegian black metal attack (early Kampfar) in there but also the more aggressive side of Swedish melodic black metal (Sorhin) here and there; Most importantly the bulk of ‘Sahar’ is driven by melodic and and aggressive mystique. You might notice that I described All My Sins in a similar manner but in this case I’d suggest that Zloslut have more in common with a band like Necrophobic than say, Kawir. Sure, if you’re not familiar with those bands it might be easier to simply suggest that ‘Sahar’ is aggressive and melodic but not ornate or flourish driven, it rasps and heaves bloody hell just as Watain did earlier in their career. My focus upon classic bands and known structures should at least hint that I didn’t feel Zloslut are aiming beyond the trees of their musical ancestors and that most of this third full-length shapes their own story out of known sounds and quantities. Although some of their best songwriting comes in the second half of the album I get the feeling that most folks might not make it that far due to the amount of redundant techniques/tones throughout the record. You’ll get the point pretty quickly if you’re a fairly devout black metal listener. I stuck with it and didn’t feel like I was ever surprised by any of my full listens.


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Artist Panzerfaust
Title [Type/Year] The Suns of Perdition – Chapter I: War, Horrid War [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Ontario, Canada area black metal band Panzerfaust have long obsessed over not only the fate of mankind but how the past and present have long warned us of our doom through repetitive behaviors. This manifests as examinations of the pagan perspective, the anti-religious affront, and often dealing with uglier references that require post-World War II perspective. ‘The Suns of Perdition – Chapter I: War, Horrid War’ is the first part of a tetralogy (four parts) of records that appear to aim for a masterwork that’d summarize years of obsession with the darkness inherent to mankind. Their sound reminds me of a much more modern Wolven Ancestry with some more recent Marduk and Funeral Mist influences. Although I didn’t end up particularly loving this latest Panzerfaust record I will be eager to hear the other three parts as it seems each will be about a half hour long and deal with increasingly dark topics, this one most clearly begins with rumination upon war. Worth checking out but I’d almost want the other parts included now so I could first get the bigger picture of the scope and story being told here, if any.


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Artist Misanthropic Rage
Title [Type/Year] Towards the Greyscale Aphorysm [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

How can I explain what makes Mińsk Mazowiecki, Poland based band Misanthropic Rage earn their ‘avant-garde black metal’ tag? Well, that is harder than you’d think because their combination of modern (see: chugs) death metal guitar work, wailing black metal sound and semi-unconventional songwriting make for a unique listen that isn’t readily ‘weird’ enough to warrant the description. It is perhaps too deeply rooted in modern metal pastures for my own taste but should appeal to fans of the Esoctrilihum record I’d mentioned earlier nonetheless thanks to melodic and ‘epic’ black metal sections that do a lot to add to the sometimes cluttered atmospherics of the album. If you liked Ars Magna Umbrae and Totenmesse last year, I think this will be well worth checking out.


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Artist Humanart
Title [Type/Year] (Further) Into the Depths [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

This one was a personal purchase after a good friend had recommended it to me and although I appreciate recommendations this time around it was probably more worth a stream or two rather than a buy overall. Why? Though I appreciate the steadfast pure Norwegian sounding black metal of Humanart there is little to really grasp outside of a general stiffness of the neck. Groups like Tsjuder, Urgehal, and Sargeist each put a unique spin on an auld and ambitious form of black metal but ‘(Further) Into the Depths’ nearly resorts to full on primitivism (raw/war metal) to survive as Humanart appear to push through this second full-length simple for the hopes of it being done and finished.


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Artist Kapala
Title [Type/Year] Termination Apex [EP/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Kolkata, India based war metal band Kapala toy with harsh noise and extreme lo-fi production on their second EP since forming prior to 2016. I haven’t chosen this to highlight the successes they’ve happened upon in attacking this beautifully primitive version of black metal but rather to provide some much needed variety and a look at the greater reaches of extreme metal outside of the usual Europe and North America. Kapala are at their most interesting within full speed blasting sections that typically only last 10-20 seconds within these 4-5 minute songs but as a whole the experience reads sort of like a blackened grindcore record with plenty of big and hard-grooving bass crunching riffs (“Moral Attrition”). Because I’ve been working more war metal into my listening over the last two years I felt like a lot stood out among the 28 minutes of ‘Termination Apex’ but I’d recommend them to the harsh noise/war metal mixture lovers above anyone else. Not quite as abrasive as their Dunkelheit labelmates Subduer but at times pretty close.


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Artist Heresiarch
Title [Type/Year] Incursions [Compilation/2019]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Don’t jump out of your chair just yet unless you’re already well in love with the early releases from New Zealand war metal band Heresiarch because ‘Incursions’ simply collects all of their EP and demo material to date minus the “Ruination” single and the most recent split (with Genocide Shrines, Serpents Athirst, Trepanation). This band have always stood out in my mind because of their grasp of what it means to ‘blacken’ death metal rather than simply growl over black metal or rasp over death metal riffs. All of the best elements of war metal are here, the mania and the hallucinatory blur of the attack, but all of it remains devoid of the typical laziness and this is emphasized with their cover of Bathory‘s ‘Equimanthorn’ which could totally be cranked out lazily and still sound amazing but they’ve given it a sort of Repulsion-esque quality as it grinds out. The main reason to own this is to collect ‘Hammer of Intransigence’ (2011) and ‘Wælwulf’ (2014) EPs because they collectively highlight how Heresiarch developed before releasing the somewhat underrated ‘Death Ordinance’ full-length two years ago. Why buy this from Krucyator in 2019? Oh, right! The main reason is the remaster/mastering these releases have been treated to because each gains some volume without sacrificing the dynamic of each recording. The ‘Obsecrating the Global Holocaust’ demo is still somewhat rough but by war metal standards it won’t be a problem for anyone in the know. Jump right to the duo of “Carnivore” and “Iconoclasm” if you don’t know what this band is all about.


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 consider a small donation to help keep me in front of the computer writing about metal. Thanks.

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