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 best black metal releases released this year. Consider it my way of making sure I cover as many late year releases before 2019 ends. 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 curated for the sake of many of my friends doing “Nothing but Black Metal November” lists every year on RateYourMusic/Sonemic, I won’t be sticking to only black metal releases as a whole but Ten From the Tomb will be covering black metal for the next three 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.
|Title [Type/Year]||Kosmocide [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY from Malignant Voices/Terratur Possessions|
Wrocław, Poland based black metal act Deus Mortem is nearly shadowed by the hype that Necrosodom‘s resume would create, I mean some of the best records from Thunderbolt, Azarath, and Throneum are included in his oeuvre but to be fair this is a black metal affair and doesn’t dive into the death metal pool as much as those old associations might presume. Instead ‘Kosmocide’, the second full-length from this band that’d originally formed as a solo act featuring Inferno (Behemoth, Azarath) now features a full line-up including members of Infernal War, Outre, and Mordor among others while focusing on a more direct snap of Polish black metal; Think along the lines of Marduk‘s ‘Those of the Unlight’ at times. Once we’ve dug through the namedrops you can assume this is a ripping black metal record with a moderate occult black metal tinge. You’d think having Stormblast on drums would end up conjuring the muscle memory of Thunderbolt but this goes beyond those era-appropriate goals of brutality and instead slithers forward with narrative intent. Production is also a consideration if you’re returning to Deus Mortem in the dark since 2013 as the first album was Wiesławski brothers produced and this one chooses the more… level-headed sensibilities of M. (Mgła, Kriegsmaschine) and as a result ‘Kosmocide’ breathes deeper its lungs of hell.
|Title [Type/Year]||To Become the Great Beast [LP/2019]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY from Soulseller Records|
Easily one of the best metal releases of September this year and a crater in my mind since, ‘To Become the Great Beast’ is positioned as the life’s work of Eternity aka Evighet who had more or less gotten his start with a black/thrash metal band Nuctemeron in the mid 90’s; Though you could count his blackened doom project In Silence from the early 90’s but those demos came in the late 90’s. Anyhow, friends made along the way in Nocturnal Breed, Aura Noir, and such would give way to a burst of activity in the early to mid 2000’s but a great silence would occur from 2006 until 2019 when this record was announced. The goal is to create the ultimate black metal album and of course this comes with the given assumption that he’d intend “Norwegian” to be the final modifier, ‘To Become the Great Beast’ succeeds on many levels and should be celebrated as such. The attack, the riffs, the semi-melodic bursts, the ripping thrash of it all manages such an incredible energy that I’d become spellbound by Eternity‘s second album almost instantly. It all sticks within the comfort of the second wave and with absolutely no frills. Pure love, er cosmically siphoned skull-collapsing dread, for this record on my end.
|Title [Type/Year]||Daemon [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.0/5.0]||LISTEN on Spotify|
Mayhem are a band I have great admiration for due to their journey beyond their infamous beginnings. As much as I admire the earliest work of the band it is the evolution beyond that point, as the band passed between various hands and minds, that is most interesting to me. Have they ever topped the debut? Well, they don’t need to try and any attempt to even touch it would seem to go against their always forward-thinking aggression upon the Earth. At first it baffled and disgusted me that yet the pre-release angle for ‘Daemon’ was trying to conjure nostalgia for the debut, and this made sense to many due to the hype surrounding the cornball Lords of Chaos movie recently but as it turns out ‘Daemon’ does actually reprise some of those old techniques, sterilizing them. I loved what Teloch (Nidingr, The Konsortium) did on ‘Esoteric Warfare’ (2014) and really did just want more of that but now that the songwriting process opened up to second guitarist Ghul (Imperial Vengeance, ex-Cradle of Filth) their sound changes once again quite drastically and well, it is frankly pedestrian considering what fervor Mayhem have been whipping us with intermittently and unexpectedly for the last several decades. ‘Daemon’ isn’t a bad album, at all, just a bland one.
|Title [Type/Year]||Nordabetraktelse [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from Nordvis|
One half of the under-appreciated Armagedda in the early 2000’s and the fellow behind the forward-thinking LIK, multi-talented musician Graavehlder expresses all of himself in this fine debut from Ehlder, ‘Nordabetraktelse’. From folkish epics to creeping Bathory-esque blackened rock crawls the whole of the full listen is massive and feels much bigger than its already daunting 53 minute length. As a huge fan of pagan black metal who also appreciates a succinct tracklist it really took me some time to dig my hands into the moss of this album beyond the first couple of tracks. I’d often listen to the 9 minute opener “Stridskall” followed by “Ändlös” and be satisfied, not that I didn’t want more but that I could sit and process those two songs for days alone but what I didn’t realize yet was that the rest of the record expands greatly beyond. The atmosphere is that of cold, fresh air in the evening with the smoke of burning wood on your hands and hair with the spirit compelled to repetitiously conjure the devout. I know little about auld Norse traditions, so I’ve no mind to examine meaning within and that’d be why I felt inept to do a full review. I’d connected with the album quite a bit, though.
|Title [Type/Year]||Nighermancie / Black Candle Invoker [Split LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from Nuclear War Now! Productions|
The release of this fine split LP was one of many celebrated events at Never Surrender Fest II in October of this year, a grand live event that I think most North American extreme music fans want far more of. No doubt some intrepid fans know Perverted Ceremony either from their 2017 full-length or the Moenen of Xezbeth side project who’d released their debut last year to great acclaim but I’d wager you’re a thousand leagues deeper underground than I if you’d known of Witchcraft (Finland) who’d previously been known as Blasphemous Witchcraft. Having just listened to Havohej‘s most recent record at least twenty times in the last couple of weeks I’d say there is a healthy blast of that primitive ritualistic psychosis in Perverted Ceremony‘s sound but you’ll have to turn back the clock to 1991 or so and crank up the reverberating presence of their ‘Nighermancie’ side on this split. I love their sound and particularly the placement of keyboards in the mix. Witchcraft bring what I’d consider a rehearsal tape sound to war metallic epics that reach confidently for the seven minute mark as they play. At first I was ready to slap ‘Black Candle Invoker’ off but they’ve got that same bumbling ’91 dark spirit, though perhaps more Beherit than Profanatica overall. The doom of “Seventh Sabbath Night” is probably my favorite part of their side, as it reminded me of discovering that first Samael album years ago and having my mind blown.
|Title [Type/Year]||Burier [Demo/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY from GoatowaRex|
Continuing that thread of raw, obscured demo level recordings I’ve tasked myself with immersion into the world of Burier. This Australian solo act is appropriately raw for a GoatowaRex release and, as with most of their releases, the cassette tape sold out before the official release as far as I can tell. The digital version has been up on Burier‘s bandcamp since July so you can Google your way there on your own. My baseline (read: first) experiences with raw black metal lay in the realm of Ildjarn primarily and in many ways the actual sound design of ‘Burier’ is fittingly conscious of the low fidelity it embodies in the same way. He does an amazing job of using that lo-fi sound to great effect without sounding careless or asinine. I’m not as up to date with raw black metal these days so, I didn’t end up doing a full review of this because I’d had little insight. That said, this guy is more than ready for a full-length just listen to “Disease / Deluge”!
|Title [Type/Year]||Versus All Gods [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.75/5.0]||BUY from Shivarex|
Shyaithan’s Impiety release their ninth full-length album and first in seven years with ‘Versus All Gods’ and I think it’ll be fair to suggest you’re not going to be able to ease into this one. Impiety once again finds themselves reaching for the most extreme and brutal approach possible and this means two new guitarists since the last album, ‘Ravage & Conquer’, and production from the Wiesławski brothers over in Poland. Thunderous production and a clear mountain of Angelcorpse-worthy riffs make this one of the more exciting, ear-shredding blackened death metal records of the year. Well, ’til it grinds a headache between my ears, but I appreciated just how hard they’ve gone on this one. ‘Versus All Gods’ also marks the return to their original label Shivadarshana Records who’d only recently reopened under the name Shivarex after 22 years.
|Title [Type/Year]||Ávitun [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.25/5.0]||BUY from Satanic Art Media|
You won’t find me praising a ton of atmospheric black metal acts, not because I don’t enjoy the immersive resounding spectacle of it but, because I’ve long felt the offspring of its kind follow a formula too blandly. Where does the artistic soul bleed through? Sárr is a solo atmo-black project I’m happy to see reach the vinyl stage of life as the multi-talented Þórir (Nyss) may not reach beyond the instrumental stability of the sub-genres incurred but concept, prose, and theme are inspirationally nihilistic. It is a bit more straight-forward than his work as the foundation of avant-black project Nyss and more pleasant a tear through the mind’s existential demolition as a result. If you’d already known and appreciated this release since last year, the bonus track “Løjask” is a meaningful addition for the vinyl version.
|Title [Type/Year]||Slave Morality [LP/2019]|
|Rating [3.5/5.0]||BUY from Krucyator [CD] | Sentient Ruin [Vinyl/Digital]|
I’d really loved the first Profane Order album for its focus on crust punk structures interspersed within pure bestial war metal wall-of-sound production. Two years later this Montréal, Canada based death cult continue to stand out even with a lightening of the punkish elements therein. The master from Arthur Rizk sounds fantastic, bigger than ever, and there are some fantastic death metal-leaning tracks on here that benefit from all the beefed up guitar tone, particularly the grinding behemoth of “Hexed (Defiling God’s Child)”. Still surprises me that something this barbaric and heavy comes from members of cerebrally stimulating bands like Spectral Wound and Maeskyyrn.
|Title [Type/Year]||In Manus Satanas [LP/2019]|
|Rating [4.0/5.0]||BUY from Saturnal Records|
With each release since their earliest demos in the late 2000’s Kouvola, Finland based black metal band Aegrus have deeper embodied all that is right and powerful about modern ‘orthodox’ Finnish black metal. ‘In Manus Satanas’ hits like a stroke following an orgasm, making meat of the listener just as their gratification peaks yet the buzzsaw of it all is never trite, but fantastically melodic to the point of my own swooning. The very cells of my body vibrate as they become reliant, and even after I’d put this LP away I’d go digging up my Sargeist, Aihos, and Malum records from recent years and marveling at this freshly sacred ripening of auld black metal rituals. Every endorphin I can manage on a winter’s night, amidst days without the sun, screams through my mind as the melodies of ‘In Manus Satanas’ spiral forth with great confidence and pride. I am a sappy fool for a certain type of riff-driven melodic black metal so, some of my enthusiasm indicates Aegrus lead with this but their attack is semi-melodic in the early second wave style at least a third of the time. They’ve got a 7″ EP out soon on Purity Through Fire (‘Wolves Howl Revenge’) which is a perfect accompaniment to these sessions, I’d recommend it just as much.
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