Friday, 6 July 2018

SLUDGECAMP #3: A deep dive into the newest black/death metal releases on Bandcamp w/c 6/7/2018

By: Daniel Jackson

We’re back for a briefer-than-usual edition of “Sludgecamp”! The ongoing upswing in death metal’s creativity and strength of output is here in full effect this week, with strong showings in a number of the subgenre’s various niches. One of the things I’ve loved most about this column so far is that there’s always someone who’s just put up something brilliant or interesting or exciting, and it can come from anywhere on the planet. There’s so much creativity in the world, and so much brilliant music just waiting to be found and appreciated. I hope you find something to appreciate here.

Released this week:

1). Svartkonst, ‘Devil’s Blood’

This is some damned nasty, filthy, blackened death n’ roll. I’m having a hard time thinking of anyone they’re directly similar too, but this album features some excellent song arrangements, a delightfully grimy-yet-razor-sharp production, and riffs for weeks. They’re listed as unsigned/independent currently, but there’s no way on earth that lasts very long unless sole member Rickard Törnqvist wants it that way. This is simply too good to stay hidden for long.

2). Xvarmart, ‘Xvarmart’

On the other end of the spectrum is this Iranian duo, drowning their grim and bitter black metal in layers of reverb creating a resonant, cavernous atmosphere. Sure there are bands out there doing something similar musically, but this is a great version of that minimalist, lo-fi black metal sound. This absolutely gut-wrenching if you’re in the right mood for it.

3). Nazrak, ‘Cantiques Funèbres’

A little under produced, but more in the sense that it has that thinner mid 90s production to it. The key here is that the riffs, while familiar in style are clever and memorable, and the keyboard work and clean vocals are done tastefully, and offer a very complete listening experience. Even if the recording itself is lacking a bit of heft, the music more than makes up for it if you’re into black metal with a bit of whimsy to it. (Note: The bandcamp page indicates that the album is still a pre-order, even though it says it was released on the 5th of July, so I’m not sure what’s happening there.)

New Reissues on Bandcamp:

4). Pyre,  ‘Human Hecatomb’ Released 3rd August 2018

This tasty slab of old school death metal was originally released by Chaos Records several years ago, but thankfully Redefining Darkness, is stepping up to bring the album back into circulation on CD with an eight page booklet and bonuses in the form of demo tracks and a strong cover of Slaughter’s “Nocturnal Hell”. The songwriting here sets the band apart from the pack, and with this being an edition limited to 300, you’ll probably want to get your hands on a copy sooner rather than later.

New Pre-Orders:

5). Heads For The Dead, “Serpent’s Curse” Released 24th September 2018

Members of Wombbath, Ursinne, and Revel In Flesh make up this new death metal band with a love of classic horror. The artwork rules, which always helps, but the riffs back it up big time. The pre-release single is the album’s title track, and it paints Heads For The Dead as providing some killer death metal with both a flair for drama and atmosphere, as well as a keen sense of melody when called upon. Transcending Obscurity has gone above and beyond for this album with special edition box sets in LP and CD format, if you’re looking for some extra goodies from a band that puts a lot of thought into visual presentation. Well worth your attention.

6). Insignium, ‘Infamie und Urgewalt - Wenn Altes sich erhebt’ Released 31st August 2018

Some very promising melodic black metal coming from Apostasy Records, with elements of thrash and classic heavy metal woven into the tapestry as well. People will point to that classic Dissection sound as a point of reference, but there’s plenty more variety beyond that, as the song available in advance makes abundantly clear.