I was completely crushed when Altar Of Plagues called it quits earlier this year. There had been rumors about it, but I simply didn't believe in them. As it finally happened, I was gutted when I missed their gig in Finland last year in Helsinki...I was at the same time catching Amon Amarth thinking these guys are still young, so I have plenty of opportunities catching them live...boy was I wrong.
Malthusian is a Black/Death metal beast from Ireland featuring members from Mourning Beloveth, Altar Of Plagues and Wreck Of The Hesperus. The demo I have to offer you completely demolished me upon first listen: brutal, bleak and full of relentless power. I would compare it to Antediluvian or Mitochondrion kinda caveman style with a bit foggy production and molten sounds, but they deliver big time. When the songs reach their peak they are capable of unleashing an ugly, full force bulldozer that will run over you, no questions asked.
I hope this project stays alive and a full length is emerging soon...this three song demo is really a keeper!
Listen and support here:
The Great Old Ones: Bachelorette (Björk cover)
Hailing from Bordeaux, France The Great Old Ones completely floored with this Björk. Now Björk ain't metal, but an oddity from the mighty Iceland, but believe me Bachelorette cover is very much metal. When I first heard it, I kept pressing repeat over and over again. They have beautifully incorporated black metal elements into a song that used to be poppy making it completely their own. The song is pretty much perfect in length and offers variations in tempo and melody.
If you are not familiar with this band before, I highly recommend checking the debut album as well.
Vestiges / Panopticon Split
Vestiges are a post-black metal band from Washington influenced by hardcore, black metal, crust, d-beat, screamo and post-rock. The odd combination works beautifully in my ears and their two opening tracks set the mood just about right. VII is an instrumental slowly setting the pace and listener ready for the main track VIII which explodes in your face like a bucket of napalm. VIII clocks well over ten minutes, but the songwriting is stellar, so you will not be bored. At first I wasn't completely blown away with it, but I realize now that I have been returning to it every once in a while. Especially when I make my long walks in the woods, this music is an easy choice for the playlist. Vestiges have their entire discography up on Bandcamp, so you might wanna check it out. All albums are currently free (name your price).
Panopticon is a one-man brainchild of Austin L. Lunn from Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Lunn is an environmentalist supporting nature, paganism and spirituality. He is a multi-talented musician and a hard working man and now also a brand new dad. Panopticon plays atmospheric black metal with a bit muddy production, but the emotions boils over like a kettle on a stove with incorporated flutes and banjos. Especially this year he has made its way to being one of my most played artists in black metal. When I heard about this split, I was naturally excited as what he has to offer now. The split has three recordings, two new songs and one cover. Usually his songs have the tendency to linger over ten minutes, but this time he keeps them under than mark and displays some new elements in his sound. My favorite is currently The Eulogy.
Listen and support below:
Ash Borer: Bloodlands (EP)
One of the absolute highlights this year was seeing both Ash Borer and Fell Voices live in club PRKL, Helsinki in spring. I could not believe my eyes both underground gems on a same gig in Finland!! The club was not packed, but luckily there were enough maniacs to make them feel welcomed. I grabbed immediately the new Fell Voices on vinyl (tour edition) and two Ash Borer CD's.
Bloodlands continues where Cold Of Ages left off. There is a progression in songs and since these guys are sucker for keeping it long and riffy, both songs are well over ten minute mark. Typical to their sound the vocals are pushed back, leaving more air for the drums and guitars to breathe. The songs are based on building the atmosphere using endless riffs and relentless drumming, no short one-liner choruses here. I would play this EP especially on a cold, gloomy winter night when the wind is howling in the corners and you are comfortably enjoying your whiskey by the roaring fire.
Listen and support below: