Saturday, June 13, 2015

Various Artists - Vánagandr Label Compilation

Artist: Various
Label: Vánagandr (V-06)
Limitation: Unknown
Country: Iceland
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2015

I'd like to preface this review by saying that if you're a fan of modern, forward thinking black metal that is nevertheless steeped in tradition, there's no reason not to own this compilation. Vánagandr, however young, is quickly becoming THE go to label for exceptional black metal, Icelandic or otherwise. With names like Sinmara (ex-Chao), Misþyrming, Svartidauði and Naðra, this is by far the best label comp I've heard since the Worship Black Twilight CD-R back in 2009. None of these songs feel like leftovers from their album counterparts (and indeed, one or two are album tracks), and like the Crepusculo Negro collective, the artists share a unity of sound that lends well to the compilation format. I haven't included sound samples for this recording - the artists involved are easy enough to find online - but I highly recommend ordering this tape direct from the label and exploring each of these groups further. If you have any interest in black metal whatsoever, you won't be disappointed.

Highest possible recommendation.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Fever Nest - The Mooneyed And Paralyzed

Artist: Fever Nest
Label: Knife Vision (KV-004)
Limitation: 100 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Black Metal/Punk
Year: 2013

For fans of recent Caligari Records signings, Human Bodies and the killer Mahtowa Death March tape, here is some absolutely evil punk-influenced black metal from my old hometown of Columbus, Ohio. This tape is seventeen minutes of pure hatred and aggression, courtesy of ex-Mouth Of The Architect guitarist, Gregory Lahm. I have to be honest, I've had this tape in my possession for a while now, but it's only been the last several days, coming home (with a more than a little whiskey in me) from a particularly stressful run of dealing with the general public that this album has begun to sink in. This is absolute and complete narcissistic bitterness and contempt for everything that goes on two legs. I'm reminded of a quote, which I'll paraphrase and I'm sure I'll butcher here due to the aforementioned whiskey - "I've never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a great deal of pleasure." Yeah. This music is kinda like that.

Copies still available via Knife Vision...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Subterranean - Illness Of Revenge

Artist: Subterranean
Label: Walpurgisfeuer Productions (VLAD-002)
Limitation: 50 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Death Metal
Year: 2015

Incredibly claustrophobic, murky, lo-fi metal of death (I'll refrain from using the 'cavern-core' descriptor) that walks a fine line with pure noise from the madman behind clothbodies' favorites Nefaria, featuring awesome hand-drawn, old-school art by Moxibuster himself. Adventurous fans of Grave Upheaval's first demo tape take notice. Copies still available from the inimitable CW Productions.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sallow - I: The Great Work & II: Corpses & Ruins

Artist: Sallow
Label: Self-released
Limitation: 100 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2015

One listen to 'Ashes Fell To Earth,' the opening song off of 'Corpses and Ruins,' (the second of two simultaneously released demos by New York's Sallow) should be enough to convince you that this band is onto something special. From the beautifully harsh tremolo melodies and the completely unhinged vocal delivery to the unique build-up of riffs that make this twelve minute anthem an absolute pleasure to get lost in, this composition is perilously close to achieving sonic perfection. And while this song is indeed the immediate highlight to this set of releases, the other songs follow similar paths of greatness. At this point, little to no information is available on this upcoming act, but I find it hard to believe I'll hear a better debut this year than these two EPs. Sallow won't remain a secret for long.

And oh yeah, seriously - those vocals. Highly recommended.

"Naked in moonlit bliss, drunk on fire..."

Monday, May 18, 2015

New Logo / Potential Patch

New logo for the Clothbodies blog by my good buddy Dustin. I'm considering having high-quality, embroidered patches made (probably a black inverse of the above image) but want to get a read on the level of enthusiasm for potential merchandise first. If this is something you'd be interested in, please leave a message in the post's comment area. If enough people are responsive to the idea, I'm planning on getting rolling on a small batch of these bad-boys as soon as possible. Depending in part on how these go, I'm toying with the concept of intermittently expanding Clothbodies into a small-run, tape-only label in the near future. As always, thanks to everyone who's enjoyed and supported this humble endeavor over the last couple years.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Jute Gyte - The Night Door Under Lock And Key / Laocoön

Artist: Jute Gyte
Label: Black Horizons (BH-95)
Limitation: 100 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Experimental Black Metal / Dark Ambient
Year: 2015

Missouri based Adam Kalmbach's second release on the venerable experimental label Black Horizons finds him exhibiting two different sides of his peerless Jute Gyte project. While previous releases on his own Jeshimoth Entertainment imprint were limited exclusively to either his black metal persona or his more ambient/experimental workouts (albeit both under the same moniker), this release takes advantage of the two-sided cassette format and showcases the best of both his highly eccentric worlds. Side A finds him in full on black metal mode, as much as you can call the methodically atonal guitar workouts and nightmarish noise-ridden sonic environments he creates 'black metal.' Side B, on the other hand, is an exercise in beautifully creeping repetition and minor key melodic ambiance that repeats for the entirety of the side-long composition, leaving the listener with an evocatively strange sense of  melancholic longing. In addition to the high quality of the music on this release, the design aesthetic is impeccable, and makes for a incredibly handsome physical artifact - something I've come to expect from all of Black Horizons' output. Needless to say, this comes with the highest of recommendations.

Lyrics from Joyce Mansour's 'Where The Wound Writhes.'

Friday, May 1, 2015

Circle Of Salt - Suffer The Cold

Label: GreySun Records (GSR-007)
Limitation: 100 Copies
Country: Canada
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2014

Yet another amazing offering from the Pacific Northwest's preeminent up and coming metal/experimental tape label, Greysun Records. This time we have a slow burn of beautifully atmospheric mid-paced black metal from the mysterious Canadian horde(?) Circle of Salt. Seemingly emerging fully formed from out of the aether, this cassette-only release definitely has my interest piqued for this all but unknown group. Suffer the Cold delivers two lengthy song-cycles in two parts each that flow together beautifully for the duration of the album's approximately 35 minute run-time. I'm surprised that this stunning release hasn't received more attention from the press - GreySun is synonymous with quality and has yet to put out a release that didn't completely blow my mind. Regardless, I'm sure we'll be hearing much more from Circle Of Salt as the band's (and label's) reputation inevitably escalates. I can't recommend this album highly enough.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Void Wraith - Ø

Artist: Void Wraith
Album: Ø
Label: Self-Released
Limitation: 200 Copies
Country: US
Genre: Black Metal
Year: 2014

Seattle, Washington isn't exactly known for it's black metal output. Besides respected members of the old-guard, such as Inquisition, Demoncy and Krohm, who eventually relocated to the pacific northwestern city, and highly promising up and comer's Huldrekall and Addaura, most black metal from that region tends to center around Seattle's smaller, more rural cousins such as Olympia and it's outskirts (the apex of the 'Cascadian' sound), and their southern counterpart, Portland, Oregon. Void Wraith, a new addition to the Seattle area, have little in common with the aforementioned bands. Forsaking the extended song lengths and focus on nature based aesthetics that unite much of the younger bands of that region, Void Wraith instead relies on much more aggressively traditional 2nd-wave sounding song structures. Their debut EP, Ø, squeezes five concise, driving songs into 25 minutes of scornful loathing and hostility that builds on scathing tremolo riffs and onslaughts of unhinged vocal savagery, held together by precise but unfettered drum blasts. The stately grandeur behind these tracks at times recalls the punk inspired (but not sounding) black metal of Mutilation Rites, while still retaining the primal fury of said band's finer moments. Physical copies of Ø are currently available via Void Wraith's Bandcamp site.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gambanteinn - Nieleva Pimeys

Artist: Gambanteinn
Label: Fettered Redwoods (FR-004)
Limitation: 200 Copies
Country: Finland
Genre: Black/Thrash Metal
Year: 2014

Fettered Redwoods once again unearths another amazing release with the new EP from upstart Finnish black-thrashers Gambanteinn. While definitely a new direction in sound for the label, Nieleva Pimeys, as per usual, maintains an incredibly high standard of songwriting quality and dedication to its subject matter. The melodies and riffs, while almost inhumanly catchy, retain a truly driving and aggressively primal feel throughout, while the unhinged vocal delivery deals with themes of þursian worship in keeping with the label's aesthetic ideals. As always, TOTAL FUCKING SUPPORT.

"Bow to the wisdom of the Primordial Giants - Liberation through Chaos!"

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Yersinia Pestis - Finis Gloriae Mundi

Label: Vanguard Productions (VP-15)
Limitation: Unknown
Country: US
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Year: 2014

The disease Yersinia Pestis, (also known as the Black Death), was responsible for the annihilation of almost one-third of the European population during the sixth century. The band Yersinia Pestis, while not quite as deadly, definitely live up to the sinister connotations of their historical namesake. One of the current batch of stellar new releases from prolific upstart label Vanguard Productions, this New Hampshire group has an excellent pedigree, containing members of Clothbodies' favorites Morthylla, Dhampyr and Aerugo. Their fierce brand of orthodox black metal is reminiscent of legendary Swedish heroes such as Dissection, with soaring guitar leads, crisp production and melodic tremolo riffs that burrow into your subconscious, all while remaining true to their own unique vision. With Vanguard Productions making their mark releasing exceptional albums from bands as varied as Intolerant, ThestralDumal and neo-folk act SolarthroneFinis Gloriae Mundi is an excellent place to start exploring their burgeoning catalog.

"The End Of The Glory Of This World"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Nocnitsa - Reveling Of Foul Spirits

Artist: Nocnitsa
Label: Blutige Magie (BLUT-003)
Limitation: 200 Copies
Country: US
Genre:  Black Metal
Year: 2014

Initially knowing nothing about this obscure US horde, I picked up this cassette based solely on the merits of label Blutige Magie (home to the mighty Gath Smane and Clementine Vulgate) who, in my mind, can do no wrong. I was not disappointed in the least. Apparently the band's first recording in almost six years, this is near perfect, hateful black metal art that is truly a diamond in the rough among today's climate of pretenders and the current disappointing tendency for every other band to sound like a poor-man's Bone Awl. Oh no - this is icy, weakness-scorning, misanthropic, played in the old way, black fucking metal. Definitely refreshing and highly recommended, I can only hope it's not another six years before we hear from these maniacs again.

As of this writing, extremely limited copies are still available from the always reliable Analog Worship.

"Blood intoxicates them whose eyes glow with wildness..."

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Moon - Clavicula Nox

Artist: Moon
Label: Schattenkult Produktionen (SKP-065)
Limitation: 300 Hand-numbered Copies
Country: Australia
Genre: Ambient/Depressive Black Metal
Year: 2014

A new album by Australia's Moon, released on the mighty SchattenKult Produktionen (formerly Selbstmord Kommando Produktionen), is cause for jubilation. And what an album it is - Clocking in at nearly 80 minutes of some of the best repetitive, hypnotic, trance-inducing black metal this side of early Xasthur, Clavicula Nox is possibly Miasmyr's defining statement to date. Best ingested as a whole, these lengthy summonings positively drip with eerie atmospherics and are extraordinarily easy to find yourself transfixed in the haze of otherworldly reverie they induce. As an added bonus, the tape edition contains two extra tracks not included on other formats. 

As of this writing, cassettes are currently still available directly from the label, although Moon releases tend to sell-out rather quickly and fetch relatively high collector's prices.

"A heresy to existence, the contraction of life..."