Trepaneringsritualen – He Who Is My Mirror (Cold Spring)
This dude is one of my favorite dudes, his work as Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words was incredible and Deathward To The Womb from 2012 is one of the most uniquely horrific records ever, and he’s ever evolving into newer and more painful sounds, finding a groove in evil rhythms and going full on death industrial on Perfection & Permanence, a wholly unique decrepit ritual rooted deep in Christian mythology, growled distorted vocals that couldn’t possibly be coming from a human, gurgling “Father, why have you forsaken me?” with a mouthful of puss, the monstrous atomic bomb beats and throbbing synth balanced perfectly with walls of caustic static and ethereal gongs, the blackest most wretched ambient that will make your blood curdle, bleak as fuck sounds from beyond the post-apocalypse, where the remaining humans have taken up arms against angels, this is beautifully disgusting and absolutely fucking enthralling, the rotting remains of a human corpse that you can’t turn away from. Limited vinyl from the UK, currently available stateside at Forced Exposure. This is not something you want to miss out on.
Teeth Engraved With The Names Of The Dead – Lacerate (Malignant)
Total fucking depravity. These two dudes, who only have one other physical release to their name, the Kosmiche Deathworship tape on Sol Y Nieve (the first five copies came with deer teeth), put out this 70 minute long death drone monstrosity that delves deep into necro nihilism, full of slow churning bestial static, demonic hypnothrum vaporizing your bones, garbled samples spitting filth at humanity, this travels to some very dark places, a hideous doomed ambient that screams of abandoned hope, at times boiling up to a full on black industrial noise, reaching monolithic fucking heights of caustic horror that knock you on your ass and eat you alive, this is pure fucking evil and every painful, prolonged moment is worthwhile, and something tells me these guys are just getting started. Make sure to snag Cold Ashes, the free companion EP which clocks in around 35 minutes.
Culver – How She Cut Herself (Fabrica)
Fabrica is on one hell of a streak this year, with killer releases from Aeronaut and Rambutan that’ve already blown my mind, and now this new LP from Culver (aka Lee Stokoe) that’s out of this fucking world. Two side long pieces of dark drone minimalism peaking at critical mass, sentient feedback that couldn’t be any heavier, humungous slabs of bone pulverizing vibrations, crank this thing on Satan’s stereo and your soul will evacuate your body seeking sanctuary in the fiery pits of hell, this is serious crater making thrum, the sound of stars colliding and the infinitely dense black hole that ensues, the roar of a monolith mixed with the mind bending bleakness found in the endless stretch of wastelands, static & near motionless crumbling of pure black minimalism, the sound of all that’s left after the universe reversed back into the Big Crunch, total void, absolute nothing, and motherfucking perfection incarnate.
I couldn’t just do a Halloween special on AGB Radio (tonight from 7-9 EST on BFF.fm!), I had to make a creep filled mix especially for you guys. However you party, this will be the perfect score for your Halloween.
Dark Cloud Rising
1. Mississippi Fred McDowell – Dark Cloud Rising
2. Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath
3. Wilt – She Walks The Night
4. The Sensational Whirlwinds – (Make Old) Satan Leave Me Alone
5. Have A Nice Life – The Parhelic Circle
6. Wreck & Reference – Abhorrence
7. Angelo Badalamenti & David Lynch – Owl Cave
8. Florida-Alabama Progressive Seven-Shape-Note Singing Convention – God’s Gonna Set The World On Fire
9. Bohren & Der Club Of Gore – Maximum Black
10. The Angelic Process – Welcome To Oblivion
11. John Carpenter – The Fog
12. Lonnie Johnson – Lonesome Ghost Blues
13. Jasper TX – Black Sleep Part IV
14. Robert Johnson – Hellhound On My Trail
15. Avgrunden – The Gate Of A Hundred Sorrows
16. Rev. I. B. Ware – I Wouldn’t Mind Dying
17. Empire Auriga – Waiting For The Fall
18. The Pod – Collecting Dust
Sequences – I (Total Black)
This dude is supremely excellent and decently prolific, so it’s kind of surprising that I haven’t written him up before. Sequences is just one guy from Belgium who works a mysterious dark drone magic, and Transient Form is his most recent tape put out by Total Black last month, two side long pieces of haunted & harrowing minimal blackness, deep amp exploding bass that sounds like the edge of a black hole, the thunder of the Four Horsemen pouring down a crumbling cliffside, the transcendent nothing of space blotting out your entire existence, dense soaring drones shifting time to a separate reality, a bit of static crackle closing the A side and some creeped out tape concrète opening the B side, this is an incredible slab of abyssal drone, not to be missed, only 50 copies made up, so hop to it and thank me later.
Update: just got word from Sequences that the tape is sold out. You might find it at some distros but you can definitely snag the digital version.
Svarte Greiner – Black Tie (Miasmah)
Erik K. Skodvin’s Svarte Greiner project gets creepier & creepier, this new LP on his own Miasmah label is some harrowing shit, two side long pieces of dark string drone perfect for tuxedoed occult rituals, comatose bass string plucks on top of haunted smears, hushed unintelligible clatter behind the scenes adding to the mystery, black bliss, slowmo static fog rolling through valleys of bleak & bittersweet depression, murky & crystal clear, floating in the deep sea ink, a minimal motionless nightmare that you never wake from, perfectly exquisite in every way, only 500 each of LPs & CDs, so don’t snooze.
Owlfood – Drift Towards Her (Behind The Door)
An excellent Boston trio that’s been hiding in the shadows for too long, hopefully this killer new LP will get them the attention they deserve. Destroyers Of The Moon is some dark moody shit, twisting doom drone and neo-folk gloom into sprawling blackened pagan jams, shamanistic chants à la Charalambides spoken over haunted strings and buzzing guitars, a pitch black night spent in the desert, opening the gates to the underworld and conjuring spirits to rain death, acoustic whispers in the smoke with the thrum of fear lurking beneath, dreams interchanged with reality in the throws of hypnosis, a delicate melancholic record of harrowing black folk, beautiful & exceptionally original, only 250 pressed up on the band’s newly minted label, you definitely don’t want to miss out on this.
Gog – A Promised Eternity Fulfilled With Cancer (Utech)
Hard to believe this is just one dude makin all this fuckin racket. So much volume on this. Ironworks, aka “an epitaph for the death of the American dream,” is a monster of black industrial noise, huge walls of distorted guitar scrape, cliffs crumbling from the reverb, with a persistent percussion that doesn’t so much keep rhythm as it creates a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, machines running on their own because there was no time to shut them off, a thick black cloud that lasts for miles, vocals that range from shamanistic chants to DSBM howls, a somber piano’s final eulogy, a lifeless greyscape where the massive drone rolls and the dirt is caked in blood, brooding & brutal, this is perfect destruction. Do not miss.
Zurvan – Bones Like The Mountains (Rubber City Noise)
I’m always psyched for some new Zurvan material. And Chapter IV is about an hour long, so there’s plenty of goodness to dive into. These two dudes really know how to bring the darkness. They craft a super minimal monochrome drone here, so quiet & subtle that the instruments are indistinguishable, a meditative fog seeping through your thoughts, neither dense nor massive but undeniably invasive, wrapping your soul in death’s shroud, a smoke & mirrors magik that scrapes your inner skull, bending light in transdimensional travel while galaxies evolve into black holes and time stands still, sounding like a motionless river of sacrificial blood, cloaking everything in nothing. Truly awesome work from these guys, definitely not something to skip out on.
Kapustin Yar – Dirge (Land Of Decay)
GodDAMN this is some heavy shit. Antonio Gallucci coming from every genre out there and conjuring up something wholly new & awesome. Trithemius takes industrial to a new level, incorporating black ambient, metalgaze, noise, darkwave, and anything else that’s bleak & destructive, tossing in some twisted spaciness because obviously. Ear bleeding bass that hits harder than your speakers can handle, huge walls of heavenly nightmarish static, a massive lumbering nightwalker lost in an urban wasteland, tearing down skyscrapers and generators, a cacophony born from a decayed post-nuclear Earth, faulty machinery humming in the distance with vocals buried in the chaos or hissed & distorted beyond recognition, black hole terrors, drifting in space drugged out of your fucking mind, feeling your every atom warp the fabric of spacetime, your body swallowed by the heaviness. 100% amazing record. Then again, I expect nothing less from the untouchable Land Of Decay.
Trepaneringsritualen – Osiris, Slain & Risen (Release The Bats)
The first vinyl outing of Thomas Ekelund’s (aka Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words) other dark project. An occult worshiping, devastatingly bleak horror of a record, oozing Death from its decrepit core, this is black ambient risen from hellish bogs, clouded in an industrial wasteland with echoing vocals shouted through pea soup fog and a brain vaporizing bass rumble deeper than the darkest Sunn O))) drones, the ritual sounds of undead shamans captured in a crypt for millennia and unleashed upon your unworthy soul. Deathward, To The Womb pushes ambient to its fucked & depraved limits. Sold out at the sadly defunct Release The Bats, perhaps available elsewhere, but already re-released on cassette courtesy to the fine folks at both Black Horizons & Merz Tapes.
Treha Sektori – Solvah (Cyclic Law)
Newish solo project of Dehn Sora (from Sembler Deah with Amenra dudes) that’s some seriously dark & stormy shit. It blends euphoria and terror into a doomed black ambience that’s fitting October just perfectly, fallen angelic choirs sounding like if Xela scored Argento, haunted snippets of rewound vocals done so tastefully, relying totally on airflow and barely using his vocal chords at all, elegiac drones & glacial drums that hang in the air forever, a crystal clear blackness from the deepest caverns, industrial drone that discards all shreds of cheese and transcends to a new level of horror, this is done so fucking right, so refreshing, so goddamn awesome.
Sun Splitter – Eye Of Jupiter (BloodLust!)
How these Chicago dudes aren’t as well known as Locrian is beyond me. Sun Splitter have just as must genre blending as Locrian, just a different blend. They’ve got this incredible black industrial psych doom thing with some dark ambient noise/drone and even a little HANL style gloomgaze tossed in. I think III is their first vinyl (limited to 500, white, sexy, etc) and it’s monolithic & pure fucking evil. Seriously, this is just monstrous in every way. The riffs are skull crushing, a wall of reverb and distortion sounding like napalm melting your core, drum machines hitting harder than any human could, explosive blasts that level cities, with an abusive assault of rapid-fire fury for the second half of “The Serpent’s Golden Death” where the individual hits coalesce into a waterfall of insanity, static vocals that roar their way to the surface, guitars that chug & rattle, at home only in Hell’s scorched valley, crusted under the black sun. These guys get in a groove and don’t let up until they’ve reached total devastation, the drum machine locked in a loop, sealing their fate as endless riff demons. If you need some fucking heavy in your life, this is where you should be looking. This is the fucking best and most original metal. And with killer artwork by band member Anthony A. Dunn, you would be doing yourself a major disservice by passing this up.
High Aura’d – The Northern Sky Ablaze (Bathetic)
It seems like maybe this is High Aura’d’s (thee John Kolodij) big one. He recruited the mighty Greg Kelley for his trumpet powers, got Simon Fowler to create a masterpiece for the artwork, had John Twells (Type, Xela, etc) produce & mix it, and dipped it in lead with James Plotkin’s mastering. Not to mention that this is his first slab of vinyl, and it’s on Bathetic, and it’s already been praised to the high heavens by everyone including the fucking Boston Globe. But today is its official release, and I can pretty much guarantee Sanguine Futures will end up somewhere on my year end drone list, so this is my authorized stamp of approval that this record is the fucking BEST.
It seems like with each release Kolodij’s gotten darker & darker, which is A+ in my book, and this one is by far the blackest he’s gone. With the exception of a singular jaw dropping moment of euphoria (and trust me, it’s a special fucking moment), this is mostly all ominous rumble, running the line of doom and black ambient. He’s been pretty metaphoric with the water theme in the past, but this is overt and unmistakable, starting the album off with watery samples. This whole thing is like a foggy midnight journey through the middle of the ocean, with distant muffled canons fighting off some ancient sea beast, mythical & literal sirens wailing, calling with sweetness & alarm, chimes and clatter rattling in the still darkness, the crazy dude on top of the mast playing his song of mourning, the much saner dude in the hull with his heartache piano, everything sad and black, but not quite devoid of hope. Seriously pushing all of my drone buttons right now, ranking in the very top of records this year and likely for years to come. This is Kolodij at the top of his fucking game. Dude is already unstoppable and this is only his first vinyl. If you haven’t been keeping an eye on him yet, now’s the fucking time.
Misery – Sous L’égide Des Martyrs (BLWBCK)
One of my favorite black metal releases of the year right here. Solo French dude Thomas Bel making absolutely killer atmospheric black metal on what’s quickly becoming my new favorite label (BLWBCK also put out the EUS, Postdrome, & Saåad album that I kinda freaked out over). This is something else entirely, though. Brooding & miserable as fuck, long bouts of chilled ambience, church bells & organs with hymn-like mantras, Paysage d’Hiverian frozen windscapes, stiff lumbering drums like a giant stuck in a blizzard, blistering sheets of icy fuzzed out guitars, and raspy tortured vocals that are clearly identifiable as such but blurred and muffled to perfectly blend with the wall of sound. This is soundtrack to the moments between the top of the cliff and the arctic glaciers below, howling winds & cracked bones, it drones the blackest & bleakest, a depressive cloud of ambient metal that’s just too fucking awesome in every way. And this is his goddamn debut? Perfectly timed to be the next Xasthur.