Written by: The Administrator
After a certifiably...chaotic month (or two, let's be real,) this particularly sleep-deprived scribe is back in the saddle of his continuous apology tour. Next stop? Time to cover a raw 'n' gritty demo by Diabolical Reign, a duo comprised, in part, by our very own Voiceless Apparition aka Lord Begravelvase on drums and vocals. One Nox Secuutus rounds out the outfit for this demo, which was recorded back in 2015 when the guys were mere adolescents exploring an (evident) heartfelt love of the rawer fringes of black metal.
And raw this is, albeit in the sense we purveyors of the rare and bloody yearn for. Icy riffs and production compliment both a forthright aggression and a chillblained droning sensibility. The drums are distant--a valley away--and the vocals are as tortured and troat-wrenching as ye might expect. And, icing on the cake: once you get past the abrasive sonic quality, some truly ear-catching compositions are apparent in the frosty static--take the blistering "Annihilation" or the aggressively morose "Doom's Elegant Robe" as prime examples. The latter track is my favorite herein, as it balances the blackened bite with a distinctly doomy dread. Black doom metal is an environ worth exploration, and it's excellent to see little sparks here and there, even if confined to a project from the past.
In sum: if raw black metal is yer speed, this evil lil' demo is certainly worth your while. Also, it's, like, Name Your Own Price. You quite literally can't go wrong. Give Diabolical Reign a listen (and give The Voiceless Apparition a follow, while yer at it.)
Diabolical Reign - Shadows in a Winter's Night was released July 4th, 2020
Diabolical Reign can be found:
Written by: Volt Thrower
Drainbow! No, it's not a psychedelic effect of household cleaning supplies, it’s the eclectic, ambitious project of solo act extraordinaire Nick Sarcophagus, who brings us his debut long player The Tower of Flints. A dark twisting journey of extremities, whether it be the bounds of genre, or the limits of nature's capacity to sustain, viewed through the lens of her most vulnerable inhabitants. “To the victor the spoils," which just so happens to be whoever lays ears on this record.
I love it when an album's cover art perfectly encapsulates the sound found within, and this is a great example. A tip of the cap to Sarah Allen Reed for another work of art, really summing up the beautiful yet harsh reality of the natural world surrounding us. From its most tranquil moments of animal calls and keys, to its most frenetic of wails and galloping progressions, the story is to be found within the walls of said art.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The next guest in line to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is one Aaron Palmer, sole member of raw black metal/black n' roll entity Rage of Devils--who, incidentally, is dropping a mean album in a few short weeks. Once yer done reading this retrospective, check out Infernal Embraces' available singles here!
Written by: Aaron Palmer
I went through several years where, for multiple reasons, I wasn't enjoying metal.
One of the hallmarks of OCD is intrusive thoughts. Irrational thoughts that come into your head out of nowhere, but feel so gut-wrenchingly real that you can't help but give them credence. Mine started in 2011, and they told me that I wasn't “allowed” to like metal.
Simply saying that doesn't convey the fear that came with those thoughts. It was a sick feeling in my stomach that I was doing something wrong by listening to metal. It wasn't based in anything real; no religious background was responsible, for example. My head just told me that I wasn't allowed to listen to my favorite music, and my insides turned to water.
Written by: Adam Paris
This is an album for staring into the ocean, watching the respiring of the sea, until your vision goes out of focus and you are no longer able to tell whether the shapes and shadows you see are a product of you or the waters. It is the kind of immersion in which the self is, for a moment, dissolved into something larger. This is an album that clears space and moves you through it--or moves it around you.
The album opens with 'The Grave Receives You': we feel a storm approaching over vast plains; the cold wind before a hailstorm; and, then: it breaks over us, guitar striking chaotically amid a vortex of drums, creating a dizzying rotary speaker effect.
Written by: Loveloth
Gather 'round, everyone. Let me tell you a short story. Abdul Alhazred, like any foolish mortal, thought he could evade the cosmos' grasp. Many years ago, around 700 A.D., Abdul spent a decade studying ruins of ancient cities before disappearing into the desert. After his return, he spent his final days in Damascus, and it was there that he unveiled the cursed book--The Necronomicon. There laid information which should've remained hidden.
In 738, his punishment finally came; The Mad Arab disappeared without a trace and many wondered what was the reason behind, for they knew he dabbled with black magick and worshipped otherworldly beings. No one knows what exactly happened to him, but the book prevailed and got translated into Greek, Latin, German and eventually English. The whereabouts of the book and its copies are unknown and trust me, it's for the better. Whoever read its pages faced madness, death, or worse. That book is pure evil and I would advise you, dear reader, to not chase that knowledge so many before you have. But what do I know for I am just a mere mortal, just like you. Or am I?
Whatever the case, it seems the spirit of The Mad Arab lives on, and in this particular case, lives through Esoctrilihum.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
I can almost always count on Blood Harvest to deliver some of the nastiest, filthiest, and most unlovable music that’s ever been unearthed. Nekus are a German act that cooks up horrific soundscapes that fit this description perfectly. Their debut album Death Nova Upon The Barren Harvest casts some striking imagery based from the black and death metal voids. The dirtiness of the former crossed with the filthiness of the latter is why this takes such monstrous form.
There are only four tracks, none being overly long besides the ten-minute closer “Dagger Of The Corrupter,” so it’s actually a fairly swift listen. But truthfully, it all feels like one massive song. The common core of droning riffs that feel like a constant swarm of hornets clouding up small hints of comprehensive rhythm saturates every track with ungodly amounts of weight. If it weren’t for the rather steady drum patterns, you’d have a hard time finding the direction of where things are headed.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The next guest in line to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is Llaves of thrashy blackened outfit Witchurn (a band which we incidentally A. love and B. wrote about here!) Read on:
Written by Llaves:
Back in 2016 I was perusing the vinyl collection at Earwax Records, a record store in Madison, WI dedicated to metal and punk (which has sadly closed its doors). I had been through a few independent record stores with a few token thrash or NWOBHM releases, but this place had all kinds of stuff I’d never heard of.
Flipping through some of the black metal collection I found Portals to a Better, Dead World by Cara Neir. I’d heard the band name before but had never actually sought them out. The cover alone sold me, a grim portrait of a decaying man chained to a wall. Weirdly perfect for my first winters in the Midwest, cold, isolated, frightening. It felt right.
I put the needle down and 40 minutes later came out of a fugue state.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. First up in this series of guest reviews is the prolific Espi Kvlt of Apricitas, Yngve, Seas of Winter, Phryne, Guan Yin, and Exsanguinated Shade. Read on!
Written by: Espi Kvlt
Is it blissful?
It’s like a dream.
I want to dream.
These words, from the first track off Deafheaven’s sophomore album, cut through me like a knife the first time I held the lyrics booklet up to my face to digest its contents. Impossible to decipher by simply listening to the album, I wanted to absorb every bit of it, as it had caressed me in the darkness of that filthy basement apartment where I lived with the man that would soon become my ex-boyfriend. The screeching vocals off Sunbather called out to me like a friend each time I was left in that bed in the corner of our room to ponder what I did to deserve the abuse from the man I thought I loved.
It cannot be overstated how much the lyrics alone have left a permanent impact on my
psyche, so much so that I branded those lyrics from “Dream House” permanently onto my flesh beside a ram skull. During those tumultuous times in that apartment, they were a source of comfort. They were my therapy. Accustomed to bands like Darkthrone and Cradle of Filth, it was the first time I had encountered such poetic language in black metal. Later in my life, this extended to my own lyrics. Deafheaven’s Sunbather still informs each decision I make when I put that pen to the paper. Lines like “Lost in the patterns of youth / And the ghost of your aches comes back to haunt you / And the forging of change makes no difference” make me both overjoyed at the experience of being able to read them and saddened to know I didn’t come up with them myself.
Written by: The Administrator
While there are undoubtedly a few proverbial bats in our belfry, the Sleeping Village doesn’t have a bat-signal...per se. What we do have, however, is a decrepit husk of a bellringer who lives at the top of our (similarly decrepit) tower. When said warden of the bells yearns for the sweet strains of raw blackened fury--something to drown out the ol' incessant ringing--he lights his brightest lantern and waits, earnestly, in hope that someone will heed his call. Luckily for him, Wisconsin's own paragon of the New Wave of US Black Metal was waiting in the wings.
That's right, folks: Vredensdal is back--after a very short break, no less. The Tyrant Shade is here. No rest for the wicked, as they say.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
20 Buck Spin is killing it lately. They continually release engaging albums that are a joy to listen to. I have to be honest and say that I was not privy to Ulthar before I received this promo, but because of the sheer pedigree of releases 20BS has, I knew I had to give this a chance. Providence is their second studio album and comes a year a half after their previous opus/debut album Cosmovore. I was not prepared for what horrors would await me upon clicking on the link, but as always, I kept an open mind. Here is my experience.
If there are two words to describe this album, they would be "horrifying" and "other-worldly." Atmosphere is crucial to the vibe of this album, but not in a soothing way--moreso in a "visionary" way. Each song transports you into a world outside of our own, a world of twisted and deformed creatures with a lust for carnage. Each planet seemingly more viscous and unrelenting than the one before. But enough of that, let's talk about the music. As soon as you click play, you are absolutely decimated by "Churn." This mighty opener is a viscous and brutal attack of the senses. Jagged riffs and dissonant melodies saw through battering blast-beats with such precision and malicious force.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!