Ten From the Tomb 8/26/19: Escape thee ever-engulfing nullity.

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 requests (from independent bands) I’ve gotten so far this year. Consider it a late summer vacation around the metal world with records from all walks of Europe, Asia, and North America. 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 focus was chosen because I’d felt some late summer burnout these last few weeks and wanted to highlight some independent music. If you would like to submit a 2019 release (demo, EP, album) please do not send WAV files or Bandcamp links, I really need mp3 files to be able to listen flexibly. 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 Dizziness
Title [Type/Year] Cosmic Echoes [EP/2019]
Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Athens, Greece based black metal band Dizziness may have been storming about the underground since 2008 but this latest ‘Cosmic Echoes’ EP serves as my own introduction to the band. Lead by Pyriflegethon (Vetusmora, Divine Blasphemy, Dead Sky Productions) through the years and with intermittent membership from his Divine Blasphemy compatriots along with members of Gungnir, the sound of Dizziness had long focused on a ‘classic’ melodic black metal sound (see: ‘Offermort Heritage‘, 2013) that pulled from Greek heroes as much as it did from some Scandinavian gods. This sound had really hit a glorious, epic peak with ‘Bound By Strength‘ (2015) an opus that should make Hellenic black metal fans truly happy. If you worship Varathron and Kawir as I do, those records are important listens. Now, and through an evolutionary set of EPs since, the shift moves towards dissonant forms that appear satisfied with the glorious past but interested in the textures of classic Deathspell Omega, Inquisition, and the possibilities beyond. The keystone in this change comes with the conjoining with guitarist/vocalist Defiant (Dark Vision, Utkena) whose jagged ideas flow well within Pyriflegethon‘s flair for the triumphant and grandiose. Nothing is missing from this sound, the songs are quite atmospheric and often memorable but I think on a full-length it would take one ‘epic’ or big melodic moment to seal the black wax of old Dizziness and new. Excellent work and a good example of the brilliant independent black metal artists within Athens’ underground.


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Artist Decipher
Title [Type/Year] Of Fire and Brimstone [EP/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Here is another fine black metal band from Athens to compound the earlier point of a thriving independent populous but, Decipher are a different sort of band who’ve focused on a slightly more accessible blackened death metal sound. A love for the ‘epic’ side of Immortal becomes more obvious as the EP progresses but Decipher take melodic inspiration from Scandinavian classics and do a great job thrashing through their more death metal edges to keep that fluid strain moving with purpose. I found that I really liked where they’ve placed the bass guitar in the mix, it has a little bit of a percussive/distorted edge to its tone and I found it very satisfying during slower sections but never buried when they were thrashing at high speed. The strength of this fairly new project comes from a meaningful melodic vision and an understanding of how to weave in and out of that hook, you’ll understand what I’m saying when you listen to the third song “Fire and Brimstone”. What’d catch me off guard was “Outlaws of the Dynasty”, it begins with a riff I’d expect from a post-hardcore record and unfolds into a good example of the death and thrash metal influenced black metal that Decipher bring. Tons of potential here as the core songwriting skills and musicianship is there, they just need something to set their sound an inch apart from others.


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Artist Tujarot
Title [Type/Year] Blasphemische Ritual [EP/2019]
 Rating [4.0/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Another handcrafted piece from Slovakian black metal ritualists as they directly pay tribute to the early days of Urfaust as well as roughen their sound coming off of the indomitable ‘Existencialista’ from last year. Tujarot are earthen, and what I mean is that they might be highly skilled, artistically advanced, and transcendent in some sense there is no pompous ego to be distilled from their works thus far– A love for the darkest craft, and in this case built by their own hands (as in, the handmade digipaks), bleeds from this work as if it were meant for the soil to reclaim. The sense of ritual and growling atmosphere conjured through devotion permeates ‘Blasphemische Ritual’ as intended though it feels ‘simple’ and easy between the two parts of “Ewige Wiederkunft”. As per usual I am mystified by this bands approach both in terms of packaging and music and I’m hoping they’re conjuring spirits for a new full-length soon. I’d intended to review their other project Atanas here but I’ve decided to most likely do a full review for that.


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Artist Reputdeath
Title [Type/Year] Slurking, Reeking, Leeching [Demo/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

You know what you need? A big fuckin’ hit of an HM-2 distortion driven death metal record that brings the fear and rakes your mortality across your tired bones. I’ve got it for you! I’m pushing this Malaysian death metal trio on you for the simple fact that they’re badass. Primitive in bounding death/doom movements and ripping when it counts the Autopsy styled logo from this band couldn’t be a more accurate sign of what lurks within this tape. This one reminds me of the second Murder Squad release and early Coffins somewhat but the umbrella for this kind of thing is pretty wide set. Love the sound, love the riffs, and love Autopsy!


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Artist Galaverna
Title [Type/Year] Dodsdans [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

A dark and ancient feeling folk music release from Verona, Italy quartet Galaverna brings a cross generational viewpoint that looks to the 70’s folk/prog crossover moment for affect and depth but moves towards modern nordic folk in terms of certain arrangements, which touch upon psychedelia. This should immediately appeal to fans of Hexvessel‘s ‘When We Are Death’ or the more calm moments of an artist like Birch Book. I would say that the vibe and the layers take center stage and the poetry of it all is a bit lost in the theatrics at several points. What I would consider ‘theatrics’ essentially boils down to elements meant to invoke a retro era and/or a certain sound rather than serve the songs message. An ancient feeling is the point, though, and when this was recorded back in 2015 then shelved for four years I don’t think it lost any of that timeless sense of a time and place. This is decidedly dark compared to the more psychedelic side of the project that has formed since but it is no less interesting especially of somber 70’s existential dread is your jam.


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Artist Serpents
Title [Type/Year] Scongiuri [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

Two originals revered within their own arthouse niches since the 1990’s pair for Serpents a blend of Italian synth maestro Luciano Lamanna’s (ADSR SPQR, Lucifer Analog) dark atmospheric pulses and vocal seamstress Karyn Crisis’ (Gospel of the Witches, ex-Crisis) tapestry of lurid and sensitive moments blended into moderately challenging music. The almost black metal visual design complete with an easily spotted Christophe Szpajdel logo design suggests an almost too heavy presence than what this interplay between atmospheric, nigh horror synth and Crisis‘ vocal extensions which are in essence an instrument rather than a lyrical work though there is some repetitive prose accentuated in a couple of songs. I’d actually discovered Lamanna‘s Lucifer Analog project prior to receiving this collaboration so I’d become familiar with his range between dark analog synth work, acid, industrial tinged, and fully danceable works. A great deal of his work is on Bandcamp and I suppose the takeaway I’m intending is that both artists have quite a range to work with but they’ve honed in on a vibe and a meshing of ideas that works with the strength of each. I do think that folks still expect Crisis to really howl and roar but it’d certainly not fit the level of expression achieved within ‘Scongiuri’, which is a subtle and melodic piece that comes without any particular convention applied unless some undercurrent of horror soundtracks slides into your subconscious along the way. This set of four songs were dynamic and understated, perhaps moreso than the packaging and reputations of the involved might suggest so I’d say this is best approached with a relaxed mood.


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Artist Agabas
Title [Type/Year] Agabas [EP/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Spotify!

This experimental Norwegian band label themselves ‘deathjazz’ and rightfully so to some extent as the opener “Sorrowful” shows Agabas flexing their way through skittering death metal rushes and King Crimson-esque builds. The clarinet functions as both a lead instrument and an accentuation for rhythm and this leads to a sort of ‘Birds of Fire’ era Mahavishnu Orchestra feeling at times but perhaps never as lucid or subtle. The odd thing is that my takeaway from the first listen was closer to something like Kvelertak (and obviously, Shining) for the punk rock rhythms of songs like “Tussmørke”. I am on board for all of these elements but what I was missing in the bigger picture was the death metal side of things; That isn’t to say that they needed death metal to be pravalent but ‘deathjazz’ doesn’t make as much sense as blackened sludge jazzpunk might, and this (to my ears) seems like the logical path forward for thier sound. I think the band will have to really lean into the jazz side of compositions and away from the accessible heavy rock grooves to stand out but if they can keep both and manage catchier/more meaningful vocal hooks or melodies they’ll be onto something unique.


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Artist Anifernyen
Title [Type/Year] Augur [Full-length/2019]
 Rating [3.75/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp! [Sept. 9th]

There is a potential duality to the use of the word augur, it certainly means to portend or predict an outcome (good or bad) and in the case of Portuguese melodic black/death metal band Anifernyen it posits the apocalypse to be sure. A far cry from the symphonic black metal of the 90’s and the raw and/or depressive black metal of the last two decades the Portuguese landscape is similarly apocalyptic in terms of higher budget works that stand out on the world stage. ‘Augur’ offers some remedy while also recalling a certain period of time where bands like Rotting Christ and Insomnium alike would reach wider audiences fairly deep into their careers. Even a cursory listen will spark notable influences from the late 90’s to the early 2000’s such as Old Man’s Child (“Emissary”) and Dark Tranquillity (“Christendoom”), of course these are my own perceptions though you’ll hear the melodic black and death metal of the times celebrated here. It feels like the band are aiming above-ground and I believe they will get there with heavy, well-produced and memorable records like this. The name might need to be changed to get there, though.


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Artist Tyrannus
Title [Type/Year] Tyrannus [EP/2019]
 Rating [3.5/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

There is a ragged, crunching thud to this Scottish death/thrash duo’s sound that is intensely satisfying in the same way a Slaughter or Death Strike demo is. Tyrannus are quite a bit deeper than that, though, and this is a formative release with a thousand ambitions beneath the surface. Dank and raw as it sounds there is a fair amount of technical machinery at work here that fans of rugged classic thrash will appreciate and it goes a bit deeper than the love of Megadeth which is showcased by their cover of “The Conjuring”. There are several directions to go from here but I hear the basis for something surely Sadus-esque and with a twinge of blackening along the way. I was going to whinge a bit about the bass tone, its just socking around in the depths, but that low end adds this sluggish thump to big moments in each song that I actually enjoyed quite a bit; I think Barshasketh guitarist GM has done a fine job capturing and polishing this first bark from these yet rabid dogs. At no point did I feel like Tyrannus were simply filling empty space with naivete and this is incredibly important for a death/thrash focused project where even ten seconds of wasted space feels like an eternity on a full spin, it all bodes well for future compositions if they keep up this level of detail and maintain their good sense of the ‘song’ and for classic thrash rants.


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Artist Wardomized
Title [Type/Year] …A Heated Exchange [EP/2019]
 Rating [3.25/5.0] BUY & LISTEN on Bandcamp!

From Dunfermline, Scotland area down o’er to Belfast in Northern Ireland we’re given a beating by way of Wardomized, a deathgrind band some crossover thrash roots that’ve landed upon their debut full-length after five years of plowing away at the system. The shift to deathgrind makes good sense as they were fairly aggressive to begin with and pretty standard rhythms pulled from hardcore punk and crust influences make good sense along the way. Because I felt a lot of the songwriting was fairly average, but on par all the same, there were a few nitpicks as I took a closer look at ‘…A Heated Exchange’; The main gripe is the drums being a hair too loud and it’d had the effect of early 2000’s brutal death metal where the blasts are somewhat hollow and abrasive to the full effect of the guitar work. If blast n’ mosh insanity is your thing, there are plenty of good times to be had here and I could see these guys picking up even more of that post-90’s Napalm Death groove and standing out a bit more beyond their blast n’ roar modus at present. For a record that intends to make a loud first impression it does so effectively.


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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