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ID is not 1-5. Defaulting to French Black Metal

ABJECT 666   Vile Devotion   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    6.50

Vile Devotion IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

If you're looking for the rawest, most atavistic sounds currently wafting out of the French necro underground, I doubt that there's a better place to start digging than the Infernal Kommando label. I've done a lot of ranting in the past about all of the assorted doses of foulness that I've picked up from the label, tapes from such primitive, low-fi black/thrash/punk abominations as Zarach'Baal'Tharagh, and the latest two Infernal Kommando tapes that we've gotten in come from a one-man band called Abject 666, another purveyor of primitive French filth. A project from one of the guys behind black thrashers Tank Genocide, Abject 666's cassettes have been described by the label as "raw, putrid and minimalist Black Metal...for fans of old Beherit, Zarach'Baal'Tharagh and Ildjarn." Didn't need much more prompting than that, so here we've got both of the cassette EPs on Infernal Kommando, both ugly, deformed blasts of messed-up black metal that sometimes veers into severe noise damage or warped soundscapery.
Tape number two from this fucked-up French blackthrash mutant, Vile Devotion features six tracks of Razor's mangy primitive black metal, opening up with a cribbed sample of Carpenter's iconic Halloween theme for the intro, before slithering off into the plodding, caveman necro-trance of the title track. Like the other Abject 666 tape that I picked up, this is mostly made up of pounding primitive thrash with tracks like "Visceral Abomination", "Infamous Agony" and "The Praise of Devil" stripping down to a single riff or two, buzzsaw three-chord punk riffs whipped into a chaotic roar of blown-out distortion and croaked, hateful vocals, the spiteful mess laid out over the skeletal mechanical pound of the drum machine. There's a heavy layer of reverb and hiss splattered over everything, and the songs tend to collapse into weird circular riffs where the drum machine completely drops out, or slips into pummeling passages of filthy Frostian sludge. Unsurprisingly, Abject 666's drunken black metal is often reminiscent of the repetitive, hypnotic violence of Ildjarn's Strength And Anger, but that sound becomes completely blanketed in rotting low-fi murk, ending with a faint ambient outro that sounds like an old Tangerine Dream piece breaking through a hiss-filled recording of ghostly knockings. Definitely has that murky, low-fi Infernal Kommando aesthetic all over it. I can't get enough of this stuff.
Limited to one hundred copies.


ABJECT 666   Reign Of Agony   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    6.50

Reign Of Agony IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

If you're looking for the rawest, most atavistic sounds currently wafting out of the French necro underground, I doubt that there's a better place to start digging than the Infernal Kommando label. I've done a lot of ranting in the past about all of the assorted doses of foulness that I've picked up from the label, tapes from such primitive, low-fi black/thrash/punk abominations as Zarach'Baal'Tharagh, and the latest two Infernal Kommando tapes that we've gotten in come from a one-man band called Abject 666, another purveyor of primitive French filth. A project from one of the guys behind black thrashers Tank Genocide, Abject 666's cassettes have been described by the label as "raw, putrid and minimalist Black Metal...for fans of old Beherit, Zarach'Baal'Tharagh and Ildjarn." Didn't need much more prompting than that, so here we've got both of the cassette EPs on Infernal Kommando, both ugly, deformed blasts of messed-up black metal that sometimes veers into severe noise damage or warped soundscapery.
Reign Of Agony is the first of the two Abject 666 tapes, laying out the project's general MO with bits of pilfered horror movie scores (this time it's Christopher Young's Hellraiser Theme that gets lifted wholesale and slapped across the beginning of the tape), that theme playing out beneath Razor's garbled, delay-drenched mutterings, giving the opening minutes of the tape a deranged feel. Then it kicks in to the blown-out assault of noisy primitive black metal, the rest of the tape made up of short songs built from simple repetitive riffs, roaring over a mid-paced drum machine beat that at a couple of points had me thinking of a more "industrialized" Ildjarn. That's completely enshrouded in a pukey no-fi recording that turns into a wall of putrid black noise half the time. It's a real mess. The band also makes a couple of detours into raw Hellhammer / Frost-style sludge, and the vocals are completely fucked up, totally incomprehensible, a series of endlessly echoing death-croaks that get swallowed up in Abject 666's pounding hypnotic scum-storm. This stuff is definitely the most frenzied of the two Abject 666 tapes we've picked up, with tracks like "Sodomized Nazarene" erupting into almost Wold-like blasts of formless, black static horror. For fans of barbaric basement black thrash only...
Limited to one hundred copies.


AFFLICTIS LENTAE   From Nothing...To Nothing   CD   (Infernal Kommando)    11.98

From Nothing...To Nothing IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

The first time I heard Afflictis Lentae was on the split 7" with The Austrasian Goat that came out on At War With False Noise, and ever since hearing that brief blast of nuclear blackthrash from this French lone wolf, I've been looking for more of his music. It didn't take long, as Infernal Kommando has just issued this cd collection of out-of-print material from this blackthrash maniac, and ever since I got our copies of From Nothing...To Nothing, I've been spinning this disc almost non-stop! The album collects the seven tracks from the band's Saint Office LP, the Intolerance Deathsquad cassette, and the two tracks from the split with The Austrasian Goat, and all of this shit is blackthrash GOLD. I didn't even realize that Afflictis Lentae was a one-man band (the brainchild of a guy who goes by "Nuclear Thrash Gaichal") until I started looking into the band, the music is so tight and CRUSHING that it sounds like the product of a full band. But Gaichal handles all of the guitars, vocals and programming, crafting one awesome thrash riff after another, his voice soaring from an insane blackened shriek to deep, devilish growls to weird wailing in the blink of an eye, tons of Slayerized soloing and whammy-bar divebombs splattered all over, the sound a cross between the classic Teutonic thrash of Sodom and Kreator and the hyperblast black metal of Marduk, but with Tangerine Dream-y ambience drifting out of the cracks between songs, and strange samples, drunken bar-hall sing-alongs and murky drones lurking at the edges of the bestial blackthrash assaults. And the drum machine programming is out of fucking control. Usually, I tend to think that drum machines are a liability in speed/thrash bands, but Gaichal manages to eke a surprisingly natural drum sound, thick and dense and resonant...that is, of course, until he sets the drum machines for CHAIN GUN BLAST, where the drums suddenly sound like the mechanized blasting of machine guns going off. AWESOME. It's like hearing Sodom outfitted with industrial blasts and creepy electronic ambience. This is some of the rippingest French blackthrash ever, with killer song titles like "Exterminate and Dominate ", "Sadistic Messiah ", "The Eliminator ", and "Panzer Delirium ", and there's even a bestial blackened cover of Judas Priest's "Nightcrawler"! Recommended!
Track Samples:
Sample : AFFLICTIS LENTAE-From Nothing...To Nothing
Sample : AFFLICTIS LENTAE-From Nothing...To Nothing
Sample : AFFLICTIS LENTAE-From Nothing...To Nothing
Sample : AFFLICTIS LENTAE-From Nothing...To Nothing



ALCEST   Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde   LP   (Hyperrealist Records)    15.98

Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Back in stock once again!
The US vinyl version of Souvenirs seemed to go out of print almost as soon as it was announced, and I was only able to get a couple copies of it. Released by Hyperrealist in a limited edition of 1000 copies, this domestic pressing has the same artwork as the European LP release on Northern Silence (which is itself different from the CD release), and the copies we have are on black vinyl.
When Souvenirs d'un autre monde (which translates to "Memories Of Another World") came out in late 2007, it seemed really weird that the most beautiful rock album of the year (in my mind) came to us by way of the French black metal underground. Looking back, I've heard alot of other equally beautiful, very un-black metal albums come out of the black metal scene, but Alcest's latest full length is still one of the best, and one of the few albums to really take me back to the height of the whole UK dreampop/shoegaze scene that I grew up with. Souvenirs... is a perfect pop record, totally immersed in delicate jangly melodies and gorgeous blasts of shoegazey distortion and utterly removed from the blissed-out black metal shred of Ameseours, which is the other band that Neige from Alcest plays in. No, there are only the barest traces of metal found on this disc, heard in the super-distorted speedpicked guitars roaring down underneath the beautiful dreamy pop hooks and heartrending melodies, and in the occasional blasts of furious double-bass drumming that erupts here and there. For the most part, this is pure heavy shoegazer rock refashioned in a more distorted and epic form, much like how Justin Broadrick has taken early 90's shoegaze and molded that sound into the blissful grinding dreamsludge of Jesu, only here the sound is all dense layers of lush guitars and fragile fingerpicked acoustics, like My Bloody Valentine powered by a black metal drummer, or a heavier Chapterhouse or Catherine Wheel. All six songs here follow this route, awash in majestic swells of guitar and keyboards and dreamy vocal harmonies that evoke images of innocence and springtime. While Alcest's sound is drawn directly from early 90's shoegaze, those of you that are fans of the more atmospheric sounds of bands like Drudkh and Agalloch will likely love this album just as much as fans of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. Highly recommended! Comes in a full color digipack with booklet.


ALCEST   Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde   CD   (Profound Lore)    14.99

Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

When Souvenirs d'un autre monde (which translates to "Memories Of Another World") came out in late 2007, it seemed really weird that the most beautiful rock album of the year (in my mind) came to us by way of the French black metal underground. Looking back, I've heard alot of other equally beautiful, very un-black metal albums come out of the black metal scene, but Alcest's latest full length is still one of the best, and one of the few albums to really take me back to the height of the whole UK dreampop/shoegaze scene that I grew up with. Souvenirs... is a perfect pop record, totally immersed in delicate jangly melodies and gorgeous blasts of shoegazey distortion and utterly removed from the blissed-out black metal shred of Ameseours, which is the other band that Neige from Alcest plays in. No, there are only the barest traces of metal found on this disc, heard in the super-distorted speedpicked guitars roaring down underneath the beautiful dreamy pop hooks and heartrending melodies, and in the occasional blasts of furious double-bass drumming that erupts here and there. For the most part, this is pure heavy shoegazer rock refashioned in a more distorted and epic form, much like how Justin Broadrick has taken early 90's shoegaze and molded that sound into the blissful grinding dreamsludge of Jesu, only here the sound is all dense layers of lush guitars and fragile fingerpicked acoustics, like My Bloody Valentine powered by a black metal drummer, or a heavier Chapterhouse or Catherine Wheel. All six songs here follow this route, awash in majestic swells of guitar and keyboards and dreamy vocal harmonies that evoke images of innocence and springtime. While Alcest's sound is drawn directly from early 90's shoegaze, those of you that are fans of the more atmospheric sounds of bands like Drudkh and Agalloch will likely love this album just as much as fans of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. Highly recommended! Comes in a full color digipack with booklet.


ALIEN DEVIANT CIRCUS   Satanic Djihad   CD   (Flamme Noire)    15.98



Nice, some new French filth from the consistently-killer black metal label Flamme Noir. The discs that I have thus far grabbed from this label have all blown me away, from the cold, satanic mecha-black metalof C.Y.T., to the furious hate-filled distortion whiteouts and murderous buzzsaw ambience of Drastus. The kind of stuff that seems to drop the temperature in the room a couple of degrees whenever you put it in the deck. Now we've got a new Flamme Noir outrage to run by you, and bud, this thing is pretty fucked. On the surface, Alien Deviant Circus appears to be black metal, of that peculiarly French variety with icy, dissonant guitars that form into strange riffs and unexpected song structures. But it's not long before this album reveals it's twisted agenda as looped film samples, volleys of pounding tribal drums, looped machine noises, skittery breakbeats, savage gabba beats lifted from a Bloody Fist 12", swells of orchestral majesty and slabs of malevolent black ambience are all layered together into evil industrial dirges, which make jarring, almost frightening transitions into feirce buzzing black metal riffs and hyperspeed blastbeat programming. Style-wise, Alien Deviant Circus are closer to the industrial/electro-black metal of bands like Manes, Dødheimsgard, Mysticum, Black Hole Generator and Aborym than the current crop of French avant-gardists, but there is still that perverse French sensibility still burning at the core of these hallucinogenic tracks. Could be because ADC actually has a member of Mutiilation in it's lineup, one of the original members of the notorious Les Légions Noires. This doesn't sound at all like Mutiilation though, with the mangled drum programming and bleeping digital effects that swarm through these tracks; at times, this sounds more like Deathspell Omega buried by explosive gabba beats and sheets of electronic fuckery, or a more hypnotic version of Dødheimsgard with heavy tribal beats. Fans of the aforementioned bands should check this out, or if yer into the weird industrial/black metal deathscapes of C.Y.T. and Spektr. Blazing, warped sci-fi industrial black metal, with an overtly Satanic credo that reads like this:
Art, philosophy and drugz are the way ov this awakening towards Satan. We shall awake in order to match our vibration to his source and to arrange the manifste according to our will…
Let’s draw our strengh from decay, let us sawmp with this source ov creativity, expression and death!!!
Order shall never rise from disorder again!!!
Dethroned mankind shall end his cycle in pain and dishonor!!!
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…
Vae victis, and they’ll be numerous!!!
Oderint dum metuant!!!
The CD is limited to 500 copies, and has some great devilish sci-fi artwork included in the packaging, all created by the singer from what I can tell. Recommended!
Track Samples:
Sample : ALIEN DEVIANT CIRCUS-Satanic Djihad
Sample : ALIEN DEVIANT CIRCUS-Satanic Djihad
Sample : ALIEN DEVIANT CIRCUS-Satanic Djihad



ALIEN DEVIANT CIRCUS   Ananta - Abhâva   CD   (Necrocosm)    11.99



    Once again stirring an unholy mix of Satanic delirium, apocalyptic Vedic mysticism, technoid rhythms and necrotic hatefulness, French industrial black metal weirdos Alien Deviant Circus are back with Ananta - Abhâva, the band's first new album since 2010's En To Pan Omegas. And their stuff is still firmly rooted in the maniacal mechanized terror peddled by the likes of Blacklodge, Mysticum and Aborym, but Alien Deviant Circus up the techno ante a bit more than most, at times coming close to the sort of black metal speedcore of D-Trash artists like Schizoid.
    These maniacs kick it off with a twenty-two minute opening track, the mesmeric, murky electronica that creeps across the beginning of "Ap (Nâda)" blending fragments of blackened doom-folk and eerie overtone chants, squelchy bass throb and a slow-motion technoid pulse, the first few minutes swirling with a strange, demented ritualistic vibe. Once those black metal guitars kick in, their bass-driven pulse turns into a relentless thump beneath those icy riffs and washes of black cosmic electronics. Definitely reminiscent of industrial black metal pioneers Mysticum, but enfolding that sound within their own uniquely sensual derangement, as female voices emerge in the distance with ghostly operatic wailing, glitchy noises and rhythmic bleeps creeping around that malignant slow-motion techno pulse. As things progress, the Circus continues to weave a weirdly narcotic atmosphere, erupting into glitch-riddled blasts of frigid blackness, and slipping into twisted, psilocybin-dosed, Tesla-quoting excursions into mechanized heaviness. The singer switches off between those morose chants and a hoarse, gargling croak, and some songs seem to unfold into a bizarre liturgy, layering magickal verses over minimal burbling synthscapes, wafts of malformed kosmische ambience spreading like inky clouds across recitations from Crowley's Liber Samekh. Clanking industrial rhythms and swarming guitars mutate into wicked necro-techno attacks, emitting blasts of pneumatic hiss amid the trance-inducing rhythmic pummel, while bits of Carpenterian synth dread circle in the depths alongside Wax Trax-sized chunks of dancefloor obliteration. These guys aren't doing anything to reinvent industrial black metal, but I could care less when it sounds this insane. Ananta-Abhâva is definitely on par with their previous works, injecting some of that uniquely French depravity into their howling electrocuted black metal, and it delivers what is now my favorite song of theirs, the heavily atmospheric closer "Maha Pralaya (Pradhvamsa-Abhâva)" that welds a particularly tough doom-laden riff to a sweeping tremolo riff, before speedcore-style drum programming ends up turning it into something vaguely Ministry-like, easily the most vicious song on the album.
    Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : ALIEN DEVIANT CIRCUS-Ananta - Abhâva
Sample : ALIEN DEVIANT CIRCUS-Ananta - Abhâva
Sample : ALIEN DEVIANT CIRCUS-Ananta - Abhâva



ALUK TODOLO   Finsternis   CD   (Ajna Offensive)    12.98



Originally released on CD and LP by Utech and Public Guilt respectively, the second album from French necro / hypno-rockers Aluk Todolo is now back in print via The Ajna Offensive/Norma Evangelium Diaboli, on both formats with revised artwork. The CD version is now presented in a six-panel digipack, while the Lp comes on 180 gram vinyl. Here's the original review for the Utech version from when we had that in stock:
Finsternis comes to us more than two years since the release of Aluk Todolo's debut Descension, where we were fully introduced to their harsh, blackened trance-rock. In the time since that disc came out, Aluk Todolo has garnered a bit of critical acclaim for their recordings, while the members spent time working with other related projects, like the acid-fried garage psych ensemble Gunslingers and French black metallers Diamatregon, whose latest album Crossroad came out last year and itself seemed to be infected with a bit of Aluk Todolo's scorched avant-rock DNA. I've been lusting for new Aluk Todolo, though, and they finally returned earlier this year with this, their latest slab of evil psychedelia and blackened, malevolent krautrock.
Divided into four sections with a shorter interlude track in the middle of the album, Finsternis (German fir "Darkness") feels as if it is tied together with a larger concept, though nothing is spelled out through the song titles. The album begins with the simple pounding trance of "Premier Contact", a steady, minimalist drum beat steadily banging away while the guitars squeal and howl, emitting controlled bursts of feedback and strange noises, the guitarists scraping and stabbing at their instruments. This physical guitar assault often sounds like it could've been something off of an experimental prepared guitar piece, if it weren't for the incessant deathmarch drumming and general atmosphere of dread that hangs over the music. After awhile, creepier riffs start to emerge, and Aluk Todolo reveal their blackened heritage' these spidery minor-key figures take over, circling around and around through gales of feedback and amp noise. And it leads right into "Deuxième Contact", which stumbles for a quick moment as the band erupts into a frenzied rhythmic tangle, but then settles back down into a similar metronomic pulse, the death-clock tick-tock hammering in slow motion, that sinister slithering guitar melody gradually joined by ghostly sustained notes and weird electronic sounds in the distance, leading the album into ever creepier regions. As the album deepens, the guitars transform. They slowly build, first blooming from those droning buzzing chords and strangled string noises into that creeping graveyard melody, and then from there into sudden bursts of reverb-drenched psychedelic shred, and morose, blackened riffing.
The simple, ritualistic floor-tom throb that comprises the center track "Totalité" wipes the board, returning the band to the most basic, stripped-down percussive pulse. For several minutes, there is just the one drum, pounding in the blackness, but as the piece progresses, reaching tendrils of black amp fog and seething distorted electronics seep up from below, slowly overtaking the track with swarming, bacterial noise.
Then comes "Troisième Contact", and again the sound has intensified, the black metal aspect of Aluk Todolo's sound further defined as the guitars blast out in a black jet of crushing distorted tremolo-drone, swarming blackened riffing spreading out over the now thunderous drums. The guitars are a skygush of Skullflowery feedback-drone and murderous buzzsaw shred, and you can hear other dark, complex melodies unfolding beneath the roar of exploding amplifiers and rumbling detuned guitars. By the time you've reached the closer "Quatrième Contact", the album has drifted into a nightmarish form of psychedelic rock, the guitars slipping into wailing high-end chords and eerie wavering notes. In its final half, the song breaks apart into something more spacious and minimal, that blackened hypno-riff burning off into sheets of warm, shimmering guitar glazed in echo and delay. Still pretty ominous though, the band locking into a strange, desolate atmosphere in the end as an almost Morricone-like feel taking over, transforming this into something quite different than from where we started.
Track Samples:
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis



ALUK TODOLO   Descension   CD   (Public Guilt)    9.98



First heard Aluk Todolo on that debut 7" that the band released on Implied Sound last year, which I thought was a real blast of fetid hypno rock inscribed with cryptic occult imagery and one hell of a pounding groove, major groove, a kind of satanic trance rock meltdown that felt like it was crawling right off of the edge of the vinyl. Great stuff that caught the attention of a lot of people that follow this sort of thing, and this past November saw the release of Aluk Todolo's first full length on Public Guilt, which has been building a heavy buzz ever since it came out. On Descension, Aluk Todolo have carved out a pitch-black krautrock masterpiece that ends up sounding akin to Circle performing the background music for a black mass while being mixed by Masami Akita armed with short-circuiting amplifiers in each hand, punctuating their nocturnal dronerock rituals with blasts of white-hot electronic skzzzz.
Aluk Todolo features members of the black metal cult Diametragon, but the main thread that ties the two bands together is the musician's use of brutal white noise as a kind of lead instrument; in Diametragon, the band splatters their razorwire black metal asaults with ear shredding skree, but here the noise is draped in layers over skeletal rock instrumentation, a basic drums/guitar/bass lineup that forms minimalistic propulsive jams that swim in black feedback and atmospheric speaker buzz. Like This Heat and Einsutrzende Neubaten filtered through an endless blackdronenoise ritual, sinister melodic sigils forming out of the fuzz and forming a claustraphobic, creepy low fi psych epic, their rhythms relentless in movement. The opening "Obedience" starts off as swirling black ambience with a shuffling sheet metal rhythm banging away in the background, and then suddenly a wavering female chorale appears and the whole song suddenly explodes into a clamorous, propulsive krautrock jam, simplistic driving drumming slicing through a storm of overloaded demon howls and white noise. It's really low fi and garagey sounding, but powerful and totally in-the-red. On "Burial Ground", the band sets up a tense, claustrophobic vibe with a simple guitar arpeggio played over weird FX, rusted metal percussion, tinny evil drones and a plodding drumbeat. "Woodchurch" is another slow, plodding jam that almost seems to invert the guitar part from the previous track and crank the distortion way up while layers of machine noise and FX shift and warp above it; the last track, "Disease", has another shambling hypnotic drumbeat playing in an odd time signature accompanied by trippy distorted effects and blasts of overmodulated acid guitar clipping throughout the jam.
Imagine an evil, hypnotic fusion of the super blown-out blackness of Wold and Akitsa, Harry Pussy's shambolic noise, and This Heat. Slow marches into unnerving noise frequencies and atmospheric clatter are served up as black magic meditations, and alternate with invocations of demonic krautrock. Highly recommended !
Track Samples:
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Descension
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Descension



ALUK TODOLO   Occult Rock   2 x LP   (Ajna Offensive)    22.00














ALUK TODOLO   Finsternis   LP   (Public Guilt)    16.98

Finsternis IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Finsternis comes to us more than two years since the release of Aluk Todolo's debut Descension, where we were fully introduced to their harsh, blackened trance-rock. In the time since that disc came out, Aluk Todolo has garnered a bit of critical acclaim for their recordings, while the members spent time working with other related projects, like the acid-fried garage psych ensemble Gunslingers and French black metallers Diamatregon, whose latest album Crossroad came out last year and itself seemed to be infected with a bit of Aluk Todolo's scorched avant-rock DNA. I've been lusting for new Aluk Todolo, though, and they finally returned earlier this year with this, their latest slab of evil psychedelia and blackened, malevolent krautrock.
Divided into four sections with a shorter interlude track in the middle of the album, Finsternis (German fir "Darkness") feels as if it is tied together with a larger concept, though nothing is spelled out through the song titles. The album begins with the simple pounding trance of "Premier Contact", a steady, minimalist drum beat steadily banging away while the guitars squeal and howl, emitting controlled bursts of feedback and strange noises, the guitarists scraping and stabbing at their instruments. This physical guitar assault often sounds like it could've been something off of an experimental prepared guitar piece, if it weren't for the incessant deathmarch drumming and general atmosphere of dread that hangs over the music. After awhile, creepier riffs start to emerge, and Aluk Todolo reveal their blackened heritage' these spidery minor-key figures take over, circling around and around through gales of feedback and amp noise. And it leads right into "Deuxième Contact", which stumbles for a quick moment as the band erupts into a frenzied rhythmic tangle, but then settles back down into a similar metronomic pulse, the death-clock tick-tock hammering in slow motion, that sinister slithering guitar melody gradually joined by ghostly sustained notes and weird electronic sounds in the distance, leading the album into ever creepier regions. As the album deepens, the guitars transform. They slowly build, first blooming from those droning buzzing chords and strangled string noises into that creeping graveyard melody, and then from there into sudden bursts of reverb-drenched psychedelic shred, and morose, blackened riffing.
The simple, ritualistic floor-tom throb that comprises the center track "Totalité" wipes the board, returning the band to the most basic, stripped-down percussive pulse. For several minutes, there is just the one drum, pounding in the blackness, but as the piece progresses, reaching tendrils of black amp fog and seething distorted electronics seep up from below, slowly overtaking the track with swarming, bacterial noise.
Then comes "Troisième Contact", and again the sound has intensified, the black metal aspect of Aluk Todolo's sound further defined as the guitars blast out in a black jet of crushing distorted tremolo-drone, swarming blackened riffing spreading out over the now thunderous drums. The guitars are a skygush of Skullflowery feedback-drone and murderous buzzsaw shred, and you can hear other dark, complex melodies unfolding beneath the roar of exploding amplifiers and rumbling detuned guitars. By the time you've reached the closer "Quatrième Contact", the album has drifted into a nightmarish form of psychedelic rock, the guitars slipping into wailing high-end chords and eerie wavering notes. In its final half, the song breaks apart into something more spacious and minimal, that blackened hypno-riff burning off into sheets of warm, shimmering guitar glazed in echo and delay. Still pretty ominous though, the band locking into a strange, desolate atmosphere in the end as an almost Morricone-like feel taking over, transforming this into something quite different than from where we started.
Track Samples:
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis



ALUK TODOLO   Finsternis   CD   (Utech)    14.98



Finsternis comes to us more than two years since the release of Aluk Todolo's debut Descension, where we were fully introduced to their harsh, blackened trance-rock. In the time since that disc came out, Aluk Todolo has garnered a bit of critical acclaim for their recordings, while the members spent time working with other related projects, like the acid-fried garage psych ensemble Gunslingers and French black metallers Diamatregon, whose latest album Crossroad came out last year and itself seemed to be infected with a bit of Aluk Todolo's scorched avant-rock DNA. I've been lusting for new Aluk Todolo, though, and they finally returned earlier this year with this, their latest slab of evil psychedelia and blackened, malevolent krautrock.
Divided into four sections with a shorter interlude track in the middle of the album, Finsternis (German fir "Darkness") feels as if it is tied together with a larger concept, though nothing is spelled out through the song titles. The album begins with the simple pounding trance of "Premier Contact", a steady, minimalist drum beat steadily banging away while the guitars squeal and howl, emitting controlled bursts of feedback and strange noises, the guitarists scraping and stabbing at their instruments. This physical guitar assault often sounds like it could've been something off of an experimental prepared guitar piece, if it weren't for the incessant deathmarch drumming and general atmosphere of dread that hangs over the music. After awhile, creepier riffs start to emerge, and Aluk Todolo reveal their blackened heritage' these spidery minor-key figures take over, circling around and around through gales of feedback and amp noise. And it leads right into "Deuxième Contact", which stumbles for a quick moment as the band erupts into a frenzied rhythmic tangle, but then settles back down into a similar metronomic pulse, the death-clock tick-tock hammering in slow motion, that sinister slithering guitar melody gradually joined by ghostly sustained notes and weird electronic sounds in the distance, leading the album into ever creepier regions. As the album deepens, the guitars transform. They slowly build, first blooming from those droning buzzing chords and strangled string noises into that creeping graveyard melody, and then from there into sudden bursts of reverb-drenched psychedelic shred, and morose, blackened riffing.
The simple, ritualistic floor-tom throb that comprises the center track "Totalité" wipes the board, returning the band to the most basic, stripped-down percussive pulse. For several minutes, there is just the one drum, pounding in the blackness, but as the piece progresses, reaching tendrils of black amp fog and seething distorted electronics seep up from below, slowly overtaking the track with swarming, bacterial noise.
Then comes "Troisième Contact", and again the sound has intensified, the black metal aspect of Aluk Todolo's sound further defined as the guitars blast out in a black jet of crushing distorted tremolo-drone, swarming blackened riffing spreading out over the now thunderous drums. The guitars are a skygush of Skullflowery feedback-drone and murderous buzzsaw shred, and you can hear other dark, complex melodies unfolding beneath the roar of exploding amplifiers and rumbling detuned guitars. By the time you've reached the closer "Quatrième Contact", the album has drifted into a nightmarish form of psychedelic rock, the guitars slipping into wailing high-end chords and eerie wavering notes. In its final half, the song breaks apart into something more spacious and minimal, that blackened hypno-riff burning off into sheets of warm, shimmering guitar glazed in echo and delay. Still pretty ominous though, the band locking into a strange, desolate atmosphere in the end as an almost Morricone-like feel taking over, transforming this into something quite different than from where we started.
Track Samples:
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis



ALUK TODOLO   self-titled   7" VINYL   (Public Guilt)    6.98

self-titled IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Aluk Todolo's 7" is available again, repressed in a limited run of two hundred copies for their recent East Coast tour (which slayed; I caught the band in Baltimore at Golden West Cafe a few weeks ago with Darsombra and Lussuria, and they had me completely zoned by the end of their set), with hand-stamped labels and no obi-strip this time.
Featuring members of such esteemed French black metal iconoclasts as Vediog Svaor and Diamatregon, Aluk Todolo's debut EP is an amazing, occult-tinged eruption of heavy drone/Kraut/trance rock that uses the bands driving motorik formations to explore transcendental consciousness and trance-like states. Each song on this 7" is identified with only an arcane set of runes, and the compositions are based on music conjured during Aluk Todolo's live improvised sessions. The A side sports a rhythmic drone rock jam that builds into sheets of guitar sound similiar to Rhys Chatham overlaid with recordings of legendary occultist Aleister Crowley. On the B side, the band generates a powerful krautrock influenced number that pulsates like a darker Circle/AMT jam. The riff is totally trance inducing before it fades into a cavernous grey drone, then exploding suddenly back into full-on heavy hypno rock. This EP is a killer debut, and I'm dying to hear more from this band. Aluk Todolo's take on kraut/drone influenced heavy psych rock imbues the music with the sort of bleak blackness that you'd expect from their black metal projects. There's parts of their jams that make me think of the obvious modern heavy hitters in the field of heavy trance-psyche, like the aforementioned Acid Mothers Temple and Cirlce, as well as Circle side project Pharoah Overlord, as Aluk Todolo can get pretty heavy...but I also hear that Rhys Chatham/Robert Poss/Band Of Susans brand of overloaded guitar drone in parts of these songs that push the intensity level even further. Awesome stuff, highly recommended. Our buddy J.R. at Public Guilt did a killer job of presenting this EP as well, packaging the 7" in a simple but effective glossy gatefold sleeve printed in silver and grey inks, with cabalistic symbols and photography.


ALUK TODOLO   Finsternis   LP   (Ajna Offensive)    16.99

Finsternis IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Originally released on CD and LP by Utech and Public Guilt respectively, the second album from French necro / hypno-rockers Aluk Todolo is now back in print via The Ajna Offensive/Norma Evangelium Diaboli, on both formats with revised artwork. The CD version is now presented in a six-panel digipack, while the Lp comes on 180 gram vinyl. Here's the original review for the Utech version from when we had that in stock:
Finsternis comes to us more than two years since the release of Aluk Todolo's debut Descension, where we were fully introduced to their harsh, blackened trance-rock. In the time since that disc came out, Aluk Todolo has garnered a bit of critical acclaim for their recordings, while the members spent time working with other related projects, like the acid-fried garage psych ensemble Gunslingers and French black metallers Diamatregon, whose latest album Crossroad came out last year and itself seemed to be infected with a bit of Aluk Todolo's scorched avant-rock DNA. I've been lusting for new Aluk Todolo, though, and they finally returned earlier this year with this, their latest slab of evil psychedelia and blackened, malevolent krautrock.
Divided into four sections with a shorter interlude track in the middle of the album, Finsternis (German fir "Darkness") feels as if it is tied together with a larger concept, though nothing is spelled out through the song titles. The album begins with the simple pounding trance of "Premier Contact", a steady, minimalist drum beat steadily banging away while the guitars squeal and howl, emitting controlled bursts of feedback and strange noises, the guitarists scraping and stabbing at their instruments. This physical guitar assault often sounds like it could've been something off of an experimental prepared guitar piece, if it weren't for the incessant deathmarch drumming and general atmosphere of dread that hangs over the music. After awhile, creepier riffs start to emerge, and Aluk Todolo reveal their blackened heritage' these spidery minor-key figures take over, circling around and around through gales of feedback and amp noise. And it leads right into "Deuxième Contact", which stumbles for a quick moment as the band erupts into a frenzied rhythmic tangle, but then settles back down into a similar metronomic pulse, the death-clock tick-tock hammering in slow motion, that sinister slithering guitar melody gradually joined by ghostly sustained notes and weird electronic sounds in the distance, leading the album into ever creepier regions. As the album deepens, the guitars transform. They slowly build, first blooming from those droning buzzing chords and strangled string noises into that creeping graveyard melody, and then from there into sudden bursts of reverb-drenched psychedelic shred, and morose, blackened riffing.
The simple, ritualistic floor-tom throb that comprises the center track "Totalité" wipes the board, returning the band to the most basic, stripped-down percussive pulse. For several minutes, there is just the one drum, pounding in the blackness, but as the piece progresses, reaching tendrils of black amp fog and seething distorted electronics seep up from below, slowly overtaking the track with swarming, bacterial noise.
Then comes "Troisième Contact", and again the sound has intensified, the black metal aspect of Aluk Todolo's sound further defined as the guitars blast out in a black jet of crushing distorted tremolo-drone, swarming blackened riffing spreading out over the now thunderous drums. The guitars are a skygush of Skullflowery feedback-drone and murderous buzzsaw shred, and you can hear other dark, complex melodies unfolding beneath the roar of exploding amplifiers and rumbling detuned guitars. By the time you've reached the closer "Quatrième Contact", the album has drifted into a nightmarish form of psychedelic rock, the guitars slipping into wailing high-end chords and eerie wavering notes. In its final half, the song breaks apart into something more spacious and minimal, that blackened hypno-riff burning off into sheets of warm, shimmering guitar glazed in echo and delay. Still pretty ominous though, the band locking into a strange, desolate atmosphere in the end as an almost Morricone-like feel taking over, transforming this into something quite different than from where we started.
Track Samples:
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis
Sample : ALUK TODOLO-Finsternis



ALUK TODOLO   Ordre   10" VINYL   (Ajna Offensive)    14.98

Ordre IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

The latest slab of charred, blackened psych from France's mysterious Aluk Todolo comes via the fine Ajna Offensive imprint, and it's a superb new dose of their intense occult-fueled hypno rock. Well, not quite new...this long track, here split into to halves across the two sides of the record, was actually recorded several years ago, back around the same time that they were recording their excellent debut album Descension, but was never made available until now. If you're a fan of that album, this delivers the same corrosive black pulse, with deceptively simple drumming locking into a heavy trance-state as the band pushes through hideous tar-pit bass throb and caustic guitar noise that undergoes a series of transformations over the course of the record.
The record begins with the band fading in gradually, the scrape and huzz of the guitars drifting in over a rickety quasi-break beat. The guitars and feedback swirl with other, less identifiable noises, bits of industrial scrape and broken-down crackle, and there seem to be strings or keyboards or something along those lines droning and drifting over it all. The sound is abrasive and creepy but also quite hypnotic, the shambling rhythm resembling something from Scorn as it lopes through the shifting clouds of sonic detritus and metallic creak. As this goes on, the different noisy elements move around, allowing bits of head-nodding throb to peer through all of the murkiness, and there are some vocals that take form at different points, a deep growl that intones strange mangled incantations within the caustic, chaotic noise. This all burns off about halfway through the side, and changes into a slightly more controlled dirge. The drums are still shuffling and clanking along, but the noisy elements are replaced by a searing distorted noise that is looped over and over, until the band once again shifts gears at the end and lurches into an aggressive mid-tempo krautrock groove. Heavy throbbing bass and sheets of guitar skree and pounding motorik drums guide the song into it's final minutes.
The second side is much more threatening and assaultive; as soon as it begins, the band is locked into a grinding, off-time almost tribal workout, the over-modulated bass rumbling and buzzing around the feedback howl and scrape of the guitar, taking shape as an industrialized trance-rock workout. The sound here at first seems to feel much less hypnotic, and instead unleashes an ever-changing, always shifting cloud of metallic buzz and grinding noise and far-off clang over and around the hammer-clang rhythm of the band. It's as malevolent sounding as anything that these guys have put on record in the past, and as it goes on, it does begin to reveal a murderous trance-like quality, still very rooted in a classic psychedelic krautrock influence but taking that sound and blowing it out into a blackened, heavily distorted, thoroughly evil sound of it's own. At the end of the b-side, Aluk Todolo once more transforms the song, this last time into a slow, warbling dronescape filled with echoing guitar chords buzzing and drifting through billowing feedback and washes of murky guitar noise while a single bass drum pounds away slowly in the background.
Like all of their other releases, this comes bound in strange occult-influenced artwork, and is pressed on thick black vinyl.


ALUK TODOLO   Occult Rock   2 x CD   (Ajna Offensive)    15.98














AMESOEURS   self-titled   CD   (Code666)    15.98










Track Samples:
Sample : AMESOEURS-self-titled
Sample : AMESOEURS-self-titled
Sample : AMESOEURS-self-titled



ARKHON INFAUSTUS   Orthodoxyn   CD   (Red Stream)    11.98

Orthodoxyn IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

The supremely blackened 2007 album from France's Arkhon Infaustus, Orthodoxyn is their fourth, released in Europe on Osmose but now available here in the States on the esteemed Red Stream label. Opening with the lurching dissonance of "Trigarammaton", Arkhon Infaustus again plunges us into a fetid tangle of brutal, atonal death metal and complex black metal with songs that combine crushing, chunky riffing and slow, doomy passages with complex layers of guitar composed into droning, fucked-up melodies and alien harmonies. Much of the music on Orthodoxyn is slow, huge doomic riffs slithering through fields of evil dissonance with gutteral layered vocals that create a weird disorienting effect, the lyrics surrounded by overt satanic imagery and fascinating lyrics that infuse their goat-worshipping concepts with feverish visions that are drawn from biblical scriptures, scenes of sexual perversion, and quantum physics. I can hear a similiarity to fellow French black metallers Deathspell Omega, especially in the fucked up, avant-garde riffing and bizarre song structures that Arkhon Infaustus employs, but these guys are much, much heavier, their atonal dirges and downtuned riffage often broaching Incantation territory. These parameters of Arkhon Infaustus's sound make this another crucial slab of French black metal, filled with experimental guitar textures and abstract melodic leads matched by pulverizing heaviness, with an undercurrent of disturbing dissonance that constantly underscores their music. Another album of brutal, blackened French death from these masters, a must-get if you were into their last album Perdition Insanabilis (which is another favorite around here), and lust for both the innovative French blackness of Antaeus, Deathspell Omega, S.V.E.S.T., Blut Aus Nord, and the discordant crush of bands like Incantation and even Portal. Includes a thick booklet with lyrics and artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : ARKHON INFAUSTUS-Orthodoxyn
Sample : ARKHON INFAUSTUS-Orthodoxyn



ARKHON INFAUSTUS   Perdition Insanabilis   CD   (Red Stream)    11.98



Finally back in print from Red Stream!
The furious fourth full-length from French satanic black metal outfit Arkhon Infaustus circa 2005, which was originally released on Osmose Productions before going out of print the first time around. Luckily for fans of fucked up, psychotic French blackness, Red Stream re-issued Perdition Insanabilis with this digipack edition, inscribed in alien code and classic Satanic icons. Arkhon Infaustus developed a bit of a rep over the years since forming in the mid-90's; their releases have been censored in several countries due to ultraviolent album art and lyrics that outlined acts of Satanic perversion and rough S&M-related imagery, and the band is pretty outspoken regarding their fierce anti-christian/satanic ideology. Musically, they play a demented fusion of death metal and black metal, kind of in the vein of Zyklon and also reminiscent of the total sonic evil of Anaal Nathrakh, with some additional doom elements stitched into the mix. The songs blaze by with relentless double bass blasting, awesome chaotic drumming, and chunky, downtuned death riffing and complex layers of dismal minor key melodies. And the sound is heavy, really heavy, with a massive bottom end that will rattle your ribcage. The vocals are disorientating, often with multiple deep death growls and blackened rasps all singing different lyrics at the same time, adding to the awesome "out of phase" vibe that seeps through the entire album. And there's plenty more of that fucked up French weirdness at work here too: creatively placed samples and electronic drones, manipulated feedback that crafts their trans-dimensional ambience, executing vertigo-inducing time changes (seriously, the drummer on this disc is fucking awesome), crazed dissonant shredding, harmonized chanting, and electronically-fucked vocals. Tracks like "Whirlwind Journey" even hint at some distinctly old-school Voivod and Celtic Frost influences, while "Saturn Motion Theology" reveals a lumbering slab of ultraheavy blackened doom that reaches psychedelic heights as sheets of wailing feedback are draped over the sour, slightly out-of-tune guitar harmonies and the pulverizing central dronedirge riff. Crushing. Definitely another essential blast of bizarre French malevolence! And the packaging for Perdition Insanabilis is great, too; the booklet includes text that has to be decoded to be read, using a system of alternating lines, and the photos of the band are pretty rad, with their eyes covered in gauze as if they have been torn out after witnessing some hellish horror.
Track Samples:
Sample : ARKHON INFAUSTUS-Perdition Insanabilis
Sample : ARKHON INFAUSTUS-Perdition Insanabilis
Sample : ARKHON INFAUSTUS-Perdition Insanabilis



AYMREV ERKROZ PREVRE   Noir Voyage Obstrué De Rencontres Difformes   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98



We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
There's probably only a few of you who will recognize the name Meldhkwis, but in the annals of satanic French ambient/industrial music, he's become infamous for creating soul-crushing black dronescapes under the name Dapnom. With his roots in the French black metal scene, Dapnom's recordings are intensely evil and bleak, taking the otherworldy dread and misery that the Les Legiones Noires evoked and channeling it through the minimal orchestral aesthetic of dark ambient pioneers like Lustmord and Raison D'Etre. The result is some of the most hellish dark ambience of the early 21st century, and any fans of black ambience that haven't heard Dapnom yet should go directly to the collaborative double CD that Dapnom released with Melek-Tha pronto.
Aside from Dapnom, however, Meldhkwis keeps busy with a handful of other projects that even more obscure and underground, like the mysterious Aymrev Erkroz Prevre. With Aymrev Erkroz Prevre, Meldhkwis strays from the severe isolationist evil of his main project and ventures into a murkier and more psychedelic territory. On this 2006 cassette, we're immersed in two half-hour long tracks, both untitled and each one taking up an entire side of the cassette. The sound is murky, everything indistinct and obscured by a thick, almost inpenetrable cloak of subterranean drone, but all around the vast Lustmordian drift there are ghostly strains of what might be distant orchestral strings, smears of backwards percussion and booming tympani echoing from far away, harrowing Goblin-esque strings, eerie synth tones and brief glimpses of demonic vocal utterances. Swells of heavy distorted riffage seep up from the earth, Sunn O)))-like blasts of detuned thunder that hover for a short time and then dissolve into the blackness. The whole experience is soaked with an oppressive nightmarish atmosphere, a soundtrack for black magic rites and midnight acid trips, those insistent drums bestowing a ritualistic energy to these fearsome murkscapes. Fantastic demonic ambience, highly recommended to fans of Kaniba, Black Seas Of Infinity, Melek-Tha, Sorc'henn, and Uno Actu.
Track Samples:
Sample : AYMREV ERKROZ PREVRE-Noir Voyage Obstrué De Rencontres Difformes



BLACKLODGE   T/ME [3rd Level Initiation = Chamber o   CD DIGI-BOX   (End All Life Productions)    15.98

T/ME [3rd Level Initiation = Chamber o IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

The follow-up to their 2006 album Solarkult, the cryptically titled T/ME [3rd Level Initiation = Chamber of Downfall] is a new 32 minute mini- album from French technoid black metallers Blacklodge. It's a standalone version of their half of the split Lp with Abigor that came out last year, a weird concept album that involved Einstein, the nature of time, and a Satanic agenda. Blacklodge's material is presented here on Cd in a deluxe black digibox release that includes a twelve page booklet. Their fusion of electronic music and black metal is a little more abstruse this time around, the songs a bit more fractured and twisted than on Solarkult, but all aspects of Blacklodge's techno-satanic vision and their hard-line oro-narcotic, pro-Satan stance are intact here, with a combination of techno and dystopian electronica with black metal that puts this firmly in the same realm as bands like Aborym, Abigor, Red Harvest, and Dodheimsgard. What separates Blacklodge from their peers is the extent to which vocalist, guitarist, and overall mastermind Saint Vincent (also of Vorkreist and Merrimack) takes the techno and drum n' bass elements on T/ME....
The first song Lambda [Or The Last of The Gods; Being The Secret of SataN] begins the disc with mysterious black ambience, eerie feedback strains slicing through fragments of orchestral melody, drafts of factory noise and distant chanting, the sound slowly evolving into a chugging spacey black metal riff that erupts into a throbbing blackened disco pulse, pounding industrial rhythms surging beneath grinding guitar and manic layered vokills, for a moment sounding like a cross between Skinny Puppy and majestic black metal and an extremely bleak strain of trip-hop. As it winds down, the beat-driven BM delirium begins to break off into machine noise and dark dolorous drift at the end, with a stern male voice speaking above choirs of synthetic silicone angels.
Then "Vector G [Gravity XVI]" kicks in, all Wax Trax style stomp and black buzz, a massive electronic pummel that dominates the swarming riffing and hateful vibe, breaking into alternating blasts of violent gabber and spastic drum n bass, whipping itself into a frenzied black metal techno chaos. The music is layered with effects and glitchy noise, a maniacal frenzied black electro blast of warped dissonant riffing and chaotic arrangements, veering into soundtrack-style ambience for a moment, then dropping off into densely layered hellish dance floor industrial and grinding programmed crush.
At the onset of "Sulphuric Acedia", Blacklodge releases a shuffling mess of stuttering machine rhythms, buzzing dubbed-out bass and swirling minor key creep, then surges upwards into jackhammer techno that's splattered with glitchy drum programming and imperial black metal riffs. And closer "Stupefying" introduces a massive booming slow motion break beat into a moody black dirge, lurching through a halting stop-start riff, a sort of metallic industrialized trip-hop with dramatic riffs and thunderous boom-bap, an anguished vokill performance taking the song to evil heights, mutating into lush electronic textures and smears of processed sound and looping electronic keys that sounds something like Massive Attack remixing Mayhem.
This is a short album, but man, is it ferocious, a complex and cerebral electronic black metal beast that's highly recommended to fans of Aborym and Dodheimsgard.
Track Samples:
Sample : BLACKLODGE-T/ME [3rd Level Initiation = Chamber o
Sample : BLACKLODGE-T/ME [3rd Level Initiation = Chamber o



BLACKLODGE   Machination   CD   (Season Of Mist)    14.99



  Machination is the most recent album from French industrial black metallers Blacklodge, having come out back in 2012 on Season of Mist; I initially sold out of the album so quickly that I didn't bother taking the time to put together a review for the site, but now that we finally have it restocked (available both in digipack CD format and double LP, limited to five hundred hand-numbered copies) I finally have an excuse to ruminate a little on just how badass this disc is.
   I've long been a fan of Blacklodge's drug-fueled vision of blackened Satanic raver violence; there are few bands that have bridged the void between classical black metal and furious electronic music as adeptly as these maniacs, and with each new album their music has evolved into more complex designs of mechanical evil and digital pandemonium. True, Blacklodge have never enjoyed the level of recognition as some of the more well-known industrial black metal bands like Dodheimsgard, Aborym or Mysticum (at least here in the U.S.), but these guys have produced some of my all-time favorite albums of electronically-enhanced blackened violence, especially in recent years, often fusing a heavy drum n' bass influence into their fractured and abstract mecha-metal hallucinations. Machination maintains that manic, warped vibe that has coursed violently through their recordings, the production filled with all sorts of weird little production tricks and odd effects that make this sound a lot more fucked-up and otherworldly and alien than many of their industrial/techno-infected black metal peers. Could be their Frenchiness, of course. There's definitely some of that baroque quality that seems to come along with most French black metal bands; Machination shimmers with some of that Deathspell-style discordance that has permeated most corners of the French black metal underground. But the way that sound intertwines with the frenetic, constantly changing electronic rhythms and violent drum programming ends up turning this into something quite unique. The songs are fast and ferocious, each one a complex blast of ripping black metal riffage and discordant tremolo swarm welded to spastic jungle rhythms, bizarre Whourkr-esque glitchery and crushing distorted breakbeats, the influence of various forms of ultra-aggressive European dance music seeping like opiate residue and black bile into Blacklodge's electro-Satanic blasts, rife with the sound of screwed-up drum n' bass and pounding 4/4 techno beats that relentlessly jackhammer at your skull. Clanking mechanical rhythms and vicious bass drops are utilized alongside jittery samples and pounding pneumatic sheet-metal percussion, and tracks like "NeutroN ShivA" and the punishing "Order of the Baphomet" even start to resemble some perverted black metal version of Ministry or Front Line Assembly, at least up to the point where strange layers of chirping nocturnal frog sounds start to appear over more fractured blasts of juddering mechanical heaviness. When the album comes to a close, its with an awesome slithering mecha-dirge titled "The Other Side", a bizarre droning nightmare of jazzy bass, wailing operatic female vocals, ultra distorted synths that bore gaping black holes straight through your brainmeat, malevolent whispers and some supremely dissonant guitar creep; it's a nightmarish dub-flecked descent into total drug-drenched delirium that starts to resemble Skinny Puppy more than anything remotely black metal, but with a pulsating evil energy that is unlike anything I've ever heard on any of my Wax Trax or Nettwerk 12" singles. It's a deeply dystopian atmosphere that Blacklodge evokes here, fueled on narcotics and flickering digital images of worldwide atrocities, visions of leering Baphometic demons, their visages lit by the dull neon tracers from twitching glow-sticks, tuning in to lycanthropic incantations hidden in the garbled scream of malfunctioning modems, heavy doses of 21st century paranoia that feel as if they could've been lifted from the pages of a William Gibson novel splattered in black goat's blood.
Track Samples:
Sample : BLACKLODGE-Machination
Sample : BLACKLODGE-Machination
Sample : BLACKLODGE-Machination
Sample : BLACKLODGE-Machination



BLACKLODGE   Machination   2 x LP   (Season Of Mist)    27.00



  Machination is the most recent album from French industrial black metallers Blacklodge, having come out back in 2012 on Season of Mist; I initially sold out of the album so quickly that I didn't bother taking the time to put together a review for the site, but now that we finally have it restocked (available both in digipack CD format and double LP, limited to five hundred hand-numbered copies) I finally have an excuse to ruminate a little on just how badass this disc is.
   I've long been a fan of Blacklodge's drug-fueled vision of blackened Satanic raver violence; there are few bands that have bridged the void between classical black metal and furious electronic music as adeptly as these maniacs, and with each new album their music has evolved into more complex designs of mechanical evil and digital pandemonium. True, Blacklodge have never enjoyed the level of recognition as some of the more well-known industrial black metal bands like Dodheimsgard, Aborym or Mysticum (at least here in the U.S.), but these guys have produced some of my all-time favorite albums of electronically-enhanced blackened violence, especially in recent years, often fusing a heavy drum n' bass influence into their fractured and abstract mecha-metal hallucinations. Machination maintains that manic, warped vibe that has coursed violently through their recordings, the production filled with all sorts of weird little production tricks and odd effects that make this sound a lot more fucked-up and otherworldly and alien than many of their industrial/techno-infected black metal peers. Could be their Frenchiness, of course. There's definitely some of that baroque quality that seems to come along with most French black metal bands; Machination shimmers with some of that Deathspell-style discordance that has permeated most corners of the French black metal underground. But the way that sound intertwines with the frenetic, constantly changing electronic rhythms and violent drum programming ends up turning this into something quite unique. The songs are fast and ferocious, each one a complex blast of ripping black metal riffage and discordant tremolo swarm welded to spastic jungle rhythms, bizarre Whourkr-esque glitchery and crushing distorted breakbeats, the influence of various forms of ultra-aggressive European dance music seeping like opiate residue and black bile into Blacklodge's electro-Satanic blasts, rife with the sound of screwed-up drum n' bass and pounding 4/4 techno beats that relentlessly jackhammer at your skull. Clanking mechanical rhythms and vicious bass drops are utilized alongside jittery samples and pounding pneumatic sheet-metal percussion, and tracks like "NeutroN ShivA" and the punishing "Order of the Baphomet" even start to resemble some perverted black metal version of Ministry or Front Line Assembly, at least up to the point where strange layers of chirping nocturnal frog sounds start to appear over more fractured blasts of juddering mechanical heaviness. When the album comes to a close, its with an awesome slithering mecha-dirge titled "The Other Side", a bizarre droning nightmare of jazzy bass, wailing operatic female vocals, ultra distorted synths that bore gaping black holes straight through your brainmeat, malevolent whispers and some supremely dissonant guitar creep; it's a nightmarish dub-flecked descent into total drug-drenched delirium that starts to resemble Skinny Puppy more than anything remotely black metal, but with a pulsating evil energy that is unlike anything I've ever heard on any of my Wax Trax or Nettwerk 12" singles. It's a deeply dystopian atmosphere that Blacklodge evokes here, fueled on narcotics and flickering digital images of worldwide atrocities, visions of leering Baphometic demons, their visages lit by the dull neon tracers from twitching glow-sticks, tuning in to lycanthropic incantations hidden in the garbled scream of malfunctioning modems, heavy doses of 21st century paranoia that feel as if they could've been lifted from the pages of a William Gibson novel splattered in black goat's blood.
Track Samples:
Sample : BLACKLODGE-Machination
Sample : BLACKLODGE-Machination
Sample : BLACKLODGE-Machination
Sample : BLACKLODGE-Machination



BLUT AUS NORD   Ultima Thulee   CD   (Candlelight)    10.98



A crucial peice of French black metal history and an essential part of the puzzle that is Blut Aus Nord, the band's debut album from 1995 Ultima Thulee has been reissued by Candlelight, and it's a must-get for fans of metaphysical, atmospheric blackness. If you've gotten into Blut Aus Nord relatively recently through their acclaimed albums The Work Which Transforms God or last years Mort, then their first album might surprise you at first. Back then, Blut Aus Nord was primarily the work of founder/mastermind Vindisval, and the eight songs that make up Ultima Thulee are murky, thunderous blasts of buzzing low-fi black metal reminiscent of both Burzum and Emperor, filthy buzzsaw guitars and droning eerie keyboards, rolling double bass drumming and blastbeats, super heavy and ripping and atmospheric, reaching blizzard levels of churning black buzz that also call to mind the early works of Immortal. But it quickly becomes apparent that even this early in Blut Aus Nord's existence, the band was a heavily progressive, experimental force. Songs break apart midway to reveal ice-plated glaciers of vintage analog synthesizer-prog ambience straight out of some lost 80's horror movie. The vocals are strange and abstract much of the time, warped and sounding more like howling winds than a human throat. "My Prayer Beyond Ginnungagap" is totally devoid of black metal; instead, we are enshrouded in hauntingly beautiful chant-harmonies, a dark hymn drifting out of the night. Equally beautiful electronic appear ghostlike over droning midtempo riffs. And you can't even tell that Vindisval was using a drum machine here, it sounds so organic and natural. Fans of 90's black metal will groove on this heavily, and it's obviously an essential addition to the library of any serious follower of French black metal. Progressive and wildly original psychedelic blackness, with some of the coolest keyboard sounds ever used on a black metal album, presented in an almost entirely text-less package that simply features a set of photographs that evocatively capture an icy mountain range, a perfect visual accompaniment to Blut Aus Nord's frozen terrorscapes. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Ultima Thulee
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Ultima Thulee
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Ultima Thulee



BLUT AUS NORD   Memoria Vetusta   CD   (Candlelight)    13.98



The second in a series of reissues of early Blut Aus Nord albums presented by Candlelight Records, Memoria Vetusta is the French black metal band's second album from 1996, and as I sit here and listen to this, I'm thinking that it's probably my favorite out of all of the Blut Aus Nord albums. Don't get me wrong, everything that this band has released is amazing, no two albums of theirs are the same, and all are absolutely essential listening for fans of adventurous black metal and heavy, abstracted weirdness. But Memoria has got to have their catchiest songs ever, and I just can't stop listening to this album. This new edition is presented with new album artwork that consists of a series of green-tinted mountainscapes, which continues the visual theme from the reissue of the band's first album Ultima Thulee which was released simultaneously with this. Musically, this is Blut Aus Nord before they mutated into the interdimensional black art of their 00's output; on Memoria, the band unleash epic, ghoulish black metal blasts with heavy, emotive synthesizers that lend a classic prog rock/80's soundtrack vibe to the blackened buzzsaw assault. It's all as atmospheric and haunting as their debut, and the melodic hooks here are stunning, they'll stick in yer head for days. Some of the spacey guitar lines here even have a shoegazey shimmer to them, and all of the riffage is really inventive and powerful. An awesome combination of grandiose frostbitten black metal a la Emperor and woozy, surreal celestial beauty. And yeah, you can hear the band starting to mutate, the drum machines start to stumble here and there, breaking off into Godfleshy dirges and weird mathy rhythms that take you by surprise, and the guitars occasional take on that melted, flowing in-and-out-of-tune sheen that Blut Aus Nord would take to extreme levels with their later albums. Lots of clean Viking singing and heavenly chorales soar across the album too. Brilliant, psychedelic black metal, one of the best France has to offer. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Memoria Vetusta
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Memoria Vetusta
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Memoria Vetusta



BLUT AUS NORD   The Work Which Transforms God / Thematic Emanation   2 x CD   (Candlelight)    12.98



Dope double-CD reissue of the mindblowing fourth album from France's Blut Aus Nord, their most critically acclaimed release and the album that has garnered the band attention from far outside of the confines of the underground black metal scene. You can probably chalk that up to the fact that The Work Which Transforms God moves further outside of the parameters of black metal moreso than with any of their previous releases. The album was first released in 2003 in France, and it's sort of a concept album that deals with the band's philosophy of forward-thinking, new perceptions of reality, and constant evolution, although no lyrics are included here and it's all open to interpretation. Now we've got this new version reissued for the US through Candlelight and packaged with a second CD that contains the entire Thematic Emanation Of Archetypal Multiplicity EP. Growing weirder and more abstract with each release, Blut Aus Nord unleash some grim, searing black metal here, think early Emperor or Darkthrone, but at the same time they take that sound and warp it, melt it, mutating their filth-encrusted black metal buzz into a surreal drug trip filled with icy industrial ambience, deep gore gurgling vocals, huge stretches of drifting black dronescapes, passages of dub-like machine psych, and those queasy guitars that warble and lurch like someone is messing with the tuning pegs while they're playing the song. Those seasick guitar chords and guitar lines add alot of the unearthly ambience that makes this album so intense, permeated with an intangible, dreamlike dread. There's all kinds of rhythmic action happening here too, the drum machine sometimes grinding out a mechanized dirge a la Godflesh's Streetcleaner, or layering twisted tribal percussion that moves in and out of the background. The pinnacle of the album is the final song, "Procession Of The Dead Clowns", a lumbering ten minute dirge with spare, glacial drumming and a sorrowful, keening guitar melody, almost like a Jesu song but way more funereal and dismal and grim.
The second disc features the Thematic Emanation Of Archetypal Multiplicity EP, a more recent release from Blut Aus Nord that has five tracks of eerie, doomy dirges, fucked-up industrial clang, dank fields of black drone drifting over sparse drum machine beats, Gregorian-style chants, a weird breakbeat-heavy industrial dance track, and more of their frozen, lysergic ambience.


BLUT AUS NORD   Fathers Of The Icy Age - Memoria Vetusta I (GREY VINYL)   LP   (Debemur Morti Productions)    25.99

Fathers Of The Icy Age - Memoria Vetusta I (GREY VINYL) IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

A gorgeous-looking deluxe vinyl reissue of the 1996 album from this French avant-garde black metal cult, the latest edition of Fathers Of The Icy Age: Memoria Vetusta I with stunning new artwork and album design by Metastazis (Dapnom, Morbid Angel, Antaeus, Nachtmystium), foil stamping on the cover, printed inner sleeve, 180 gram vinyl...this album has never looked better. We've got this on the limited grey colored wax...
Here's my original write-up of the Candlelight Cd edition:
The second in a series of reissues of early Blut Aus Nord albums presented by Candlelight Records, Memoria Vetusta is the French black metal band's second album from 1996, and as I sit here and listen to this, I'm thinking that it's probably my favorite out of all of the Blut Aus Nord albums. Don't get me wrong, everything that this band has released is amazing, no two albums of theirs are the same, and all are absolutely essential listening for fans of adventurous black metal and heavy, abstracted weirdness. But Memoria has got to have their catchiest songs ever, and I just can't stop listening to this album. This new edition is presented with new album artwork that consists of a series of green-tinted mountainscapes, which continues the visual theme from the reissue of the band's first album Ultima Thulee which was released simultaneously with this. Musically, this is Blut Aus Nord before they mutated into the interdimensional black art of their 00's output; on Memoria, the band unleash epic, ghoulish black metal blasts with heavy, emotive synthesizers that lend a classic prog rock/80's soundtrack vibe to the blackened buzzsaw assault. It's all as atmospheric and haunting as their debut, and the melodic hooks here are stunning, they'll stick in yer head for days. Some of the spacey guitar lines here even have a shoegazey shimmer to them, and all of the riffage is really inventive and powerful. An awesome combination of grandiose frostbitten black metal a la Emperor and woozy, surreal celestial beauty. And yeah, you can hear the band starting to mutate, the drum machines start to stumble here and there, breaking off into Godfleshy dirges and weird mathy rhythms that take you by surprise, and the guitars occasional take on that melted, flowing in-and-out-of-tune sheen that Blut Aus Nord would take to extreme levels with their later albums. Lots of clean Viking singing and heavenly chorales soar across the album too. Brilliant, psychedelic black metal, one of the best France has to offer. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Fathers Of The Icy Age - Memoria Vetusta I (GREY VINYL)
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Fathers Of The Icy Age - Memoria Vetusta I (GREY VINYL)
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Fathers Of The Icy Age - Memoria Vetusta I (GREY VINYL)



BLUT AUS NORD   Mort   CD   (Candlelight)    14.98



The latest album from French black metal abstractionists Blut Aus Nord can't even really be called "black metal" at this point - their last album, the critically acclaimed The Work Which Transforms God, had already mutated their heavily ambient, icy blackness into a kind of seasick, doomy metal whose guitars slipped in and out of Slint-y math figures, chaotic buzzsaw thrash, and wobbly chords that sounded like they were floating in and out of tune, all surging over a punishing mechanized pulse that felt like the drum machine from Godflesh's Streetcleaner moving in reverse. But with Mort, Blut Aus Nord have completely slipped into the Forbidden Zone, presenting what is basically a single 47 minute track that is divided into eight chapters, almost entirely instrumental, and which drags you down into a murky, drug-induced state of horror populated with amorphous riffs that sound like their being played by Luc Lemay on heavy 'shrooms, winding guitar lines layered over one another and shifting in and out of tune, warbly and surreal sounding, while the terminally off-time Godfleshy drums pound erratically and dead monk chants and viscous growls drip across the music's pitch-black canvas of subterranean rumbles and gooey melting circus keyboards. At time, Mort starts to sound like a free jazz band moving through glue and flickering out of our dimension, constantly being swallowed up in the syrupy murky blackness, and clean, emotionally crushing singing emerges at times out of the muddy chaos to . Super asbtract and twisted, moving at a slow, lurching, lopsided crawl, sort of like a fucked up combination of Xasthur and newer Wolf Eyes and Abruptum, sad and surreal, weird and dreamlike, a masterpiece of hallucinatory post-black metal.
Track Samples:
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Mort
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Mort
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Mort



BLUT AUS NORD   Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars   CD   (Candlelight)    10.98








Track Samples:
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With The Stars



BLUT AUS NORD   Ultima Thulee   LP   (Debemur Morti Productions)    27.98

Ultima Thulee IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Now available on limited edition clear vinyl from the French label Debemur Morti, with the same album artwork as the original Cd release on Impure Creations Records.
A crucial peice of French black metal history and an essential part of the puzzle that is Blut Aus Nord, the band's debut album from 1995 Ultima Thulee has been reissued by Candlelight, and it's a must-get for fans of metaphysical, atmospheric blackness. If you've gotten into Blut Aus Nord relatively recently through their acclaimed albums The Work Which Transforms God or last years Mort, then their first album might surprise you at first. Back then, Blut Aus Nord was primarily the work of founder/mastermind Vindisval, and the eight songs that make up Ultima Thulee are murky, thunderous blasts of buzzing low-fi black metal reminiscent of both Burzum and Emperor, filthy buzzsaw guitars and droning eerie keyboards, rolling double bass drumming and blastbeats, super heavy and ripping and atmospheric, reaching blizzard levels of churning black buzz that also call to mind the early works of Immortal. But it quickly becomes apparent that even this early in Blut Aus Nord's existence, the band was a heavily progressive, experimental force. Songs break apart midway to reveal ice-plated glaciers of vintage analog synthesizer-prog ambience straight out of some lost 80's horror movie. The vocals are strange and abstract much of the time, warped and sounding more like howling winds than a human throat. "My Prayer Beyond Ginnungagap" is totally devoid of black metal; instead, we are enshrouded in hauntingly beautiful chant-harmonies, a dark hymn drifting out of the night. Equally beautiful electronic appear ghostlike over droning midtempo riffs. And you can't even tell that Vindisval was using a drum machine here, it sounds so organic and natural. Fans of 90's black metal will groove on this heavily, and it's obviously an essential addition to the library of any serious follower of French black metal. Progressive and wildly original psychedelic blackness, with some of the coolest keyboard sounds ever used on a black metal album. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Ultima Thulee
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Ultima Thulee
Sample : BLUT AUS NORD-Ultima Thulee



C.Y.T.   Configuration Of A Yearned Twilight   CD   (Flamme Noire)    16.98

Configuration Of A Yearned Twilight IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Alert to all fellow fanatics of demonic French black metal! Issued in a limited edition of 500 copies and already sold out at the source just like the Drastus Roars From The Old Serpents Paradise CD that we listed in the last update (which sold out here at CBLAST within 24 hours of the list going out!), C.Y.T's Configuration Of A Yearned Twilight is a similiarly frigid and inhuman blast of damaged, Satanic French black metal from the Flamme Noire imprint. Lately, the French black metal scene is starting to become more recognized for it's awesome weirdness and individuality, sort of comparable to the 'x-factor' that Japanese bands seems to have that makes their music inherently bizarre and cool as fuck. Featuring a member of Drastus, C.Y.T's vision is one of the more sinister I've experienced thus far, a sexually charged feverdream of gleaming Industrial ambience infested with razor blasts of hypersonic blistering BM, awesome ferocious riffs and dissonant guitar textures spit out like venom over the drummer's kinetic beats, who delivers a combination of light speed blastbeats and convoluted, super complex polyrhythms. It's an unearthly sounding blackthrash, harsh, fractured, the singer psychotically switching between a ranting hateful rasp and psychedelic chants hurled into the void, comparable to Deathspell Omega's recent music but even spacier, ""math-ier"", more atmosperic even, an impenetrable veil of fucked up sonic ultraviolence. This album is inredible and an absolute must for fans of fucked up, far out French BM, which makes it frustrating that we have a VERY small quantity of this available!


CARRION WRAITH   self-titled   CD   (Ars Magna)    9.98

self-titled IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

First off, Carrion Wraith scores points for their badass ultra-detailed logo. As you know, a killer logo is usually a portent of good music, and Carrion Wraith's thick, bloated root-like lettering that winds downwards like some sort of demonic tuber into what looks like a possessed deer skull is cool enough to set the bar pretty high. These French Canadian black metallers come though with the goods though, delivering seven lengthy songs of icy, distortion-drenched blackened misery. Singing in both French and English, vocalist Monarque delivers his visions of forest-demons and black woodlands ruled over by an undead Deer Lord ( also called the Carrion Wraith - uh, just read the booklet...) in a proper phlegm-spewing rasp, and the music is thick and hypnotic and buzzing, the distorted guitars cloaking dreary riffs and melodies in harsh trebly fuzz. The minor key riffs often have a blurry, dissonant quality that reminds me of Xasthur, but this tends to be much faster than Malefic's depressive black metal. Switching between blastbeats and punky mid-tempo rhythms, Carrion Wraith lace their sorrowful black buzz with bits of black ambience and lengthy field recordings of water birds and forest life, but mostly this is about awesome, heart-rending epic melodies, and every one of these songs is filled with them - my favorite being the utterly moving "L'Abysse De La Folie", which has one of the saddest-sounding black metal melodies ever. Definitely recommended for folks into Xasthur, Silencer, terminally downer black metal in general, and undead deer wraiths.
Track Samples:
Sample : CARRION WRAITH-self-titled
Sample : CARRION WRAITH-self-titled



CELESTE   Misanthrope(s)   2 x LP   (Denovali)    26.98

Misanthrope(s) IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Also available as a limited edition double LP from Denovali, this version of Misanthrope(s) comes in a couple of different colors (our choice), three sides of blackened metallic sludge and epic rock with the fourth side sporting eye-popping silkscreened artwork. The vinyl is packaged in a heavy gatefold cover with printed inner sleeves, a really deluxe, killer-looking presentation all around, and limited to a couple hundred copies.
There's something special about how the French are able to take a sound that has been beaten to death - that of the apocalyptic metallic dirge that Neurosis pioneered on their Through Silver In Blood and developed further by Isis over the course of their first few albums - and twist it into something both bleaker, darker, and at the same time elegant and stentorian. Just off of the top of my head, there's Overmars, Year Of No Light, Omega Massif and HKY, four bands who all trace their cyclopean sludge metal sound back to Neurosis's revolutionary art-metal, but who all sound radically different from one another and from the more straightforward music that most of their American peers have been creating. From HKY's cosmic industro-doom psychdirge to the sky-reaching Disintegration worship of Year Of No Light and the blackened avant sludge opera of Overmars, it's obvious that French metallers are some of the best at taking this omnipresent sound and reinventing it in a way that few others are capable of doing.
The latest French band to be added to the list is Celeste, who just released their third album Misanthrope(s) on the excellent German label Denovali, which has brought us a number of quality albums from Daturah, Kodiak, Heirs, and other artful European sludge/metal outfits. Coming from Denovali, I had a hunch that Celeste were going to along the same lines as most of their other releases, which tend to run along the lines of post-rock influenced heaviness, but this is much heavier than anything else on the label, and definitely much, much darker, too. As soon as Misanthrope(s)'s opening track "Que Des Yeux Vides Et Séchés" blasts forth from the speakers, you can hear the Neurosis influence on the mighty, chugging riffage and tortured screams, but as the song continues to violently wind it's way onward, the increasingly spiteful tone of the vocals and the sheets of dissonant buzzing guitars that coil around the thunderous tribal drums and hypnotic dirgey riffs, and the holocaustal black metal intro of "Toucher Ce Vide Béant Attise Ma Fascination" seamlessly falls into punishing sludge with a truly devastating riff that rises up halfway through, it become clear that Celeste are also drawing deep from the oily black pool of French black metal. The nine songs on this album aren't exceptionally long for this style of atmospheric sludge metal, with most averaging around six minutes, but Celeste create some supremely crushing riff-trances in the time they have, combining grinding downtuned Neurosis-esque crush with the sort of dissonant guitar textures that you'd normally expect from a Glorior Belli or Deathspell Omega album. Like most other bands in this style, Celeste also work in some softer extended instrumental sections that build into explosive crescendos of heaviness (as on "Mais Quel Plaisir De Voir Cette Tête D'enfant Rougir Et Suer" and "La Gorge Ouverte Et Décharnée" - every single song title on Misanthrope(s) is a freakin' mouthful), but even in these more subdued moments, Celeste never get soft, creating tense buildups that put you on edge rather than soothe you with melodic frippery. No, this album keeps it caustic and black as fuck from start to finish, and set the tone with an unremittingly bleak and nihilistic bent to their lyrics, like what Year Of No Light would sound like with their dreamy sludge inverted and drenched in light-devouring malevolence. Clearly, Celeste are shooting for something more than just another attempt at cloning the signature sounds of Neurosis and Isis.

Track Samples:
Sample : CELESTE-Misanthrope(s)
Sample : CELESTE-Misanthrope(s)
Sample : CELESTE-Misanthrope(s)



CELESTE   Misanthrope(s)   CD   (Denovali)    13.98

Misanthrope(s) IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Back in stock, this time in a new gloss-finish jacket.
There's something special about how the French are able to take a sound that has been beaten to death - that of the apocalyptic metallic dirge that Neurosis pioneered on their Through Silver In Blood and developed further by Isis over the course of their first few albums - and twist it into something both bleaker, darker, and at the same time elegant and stentorian. Just off of the top of my head, there's Overmars, Year Of No Light, Omega Massif and HKY, four bands who all trace their cyclopean sludge metal sound back to Neurosis's revolutionary art-metal, but who all sound radically different from one another and from the more straightforward music that most of their American peers have been creating. From HKY's cosmic industro-doom psychdirge to the sky-reaching Disintegration worship of Year Of No Light and the blackened avant sludge opera of Overmars, it's obvious that French metallers are some of the best at taking this omnipresent sound and reinventing it in a way that few others are capable of doing.
The latest French band to be added to the list is Celeste, who just released their third album Misanthrope(s) on the excellent German label Denovali, which has brought us a number of quality albums from Daturah, Kodiak, Heirs, and other artful European sludge/metal outfits. Coming from Denovali, I had a hunch that Celeste were going to along the same lines as most of their other releases, which tend to run along the lines of post-rock influenced heaviness, but this is much heavier than anything else on the label, and definitely much, much darker, too. As soon as Misanthrope(s)'s opening track "Que Des Yeux Vides Et Séchés" blasts forth from the speakers, you can hear the Neurosis influence on the mighty, chugging riffage and tortured screams, but as the song continues to violently wind it's way onward, the increasingly spiteful tone of the vocals and the sheets of dissonant buzzing guitars that coil around the thunderous tribal drums and hypnotic dirgey riffs, and the holocaustal black metal intro of "Toucher Ce Vide Béant Attise Ma Fascination" seamlessly falls into punishing sludge with a truly devastating riff that rises up halfway through, it become clear that Celeste are also drawing deep from the oily black pool of French black metal. The nine songs on this album aren't exceptionally long for this style of atmospheric sludge metal, with most averaging around six minutes, but Celeste create some supremely crushing riff-trances in the time they have, combining grinding downtuned Neurosis-esque crush with the sort of dissonant guitar textures that you'd normally expect from a Glorior Belli or Deathspell Omega album. Like most other bands in this style, Celeste also work in some softer extended instrumental sections that build into explosive crescendos of heaviness (as on "Mais Quel Plaisir De Voir Cette Tête D'enfant Rougir Et Suer" and "La Gorge Ouverte Et Décharnée" - every single song title on Misanthrope(s) is a freakin' mouthful), but even in these more subdued moments, Celeste never get soft, creating tense buildups that put you on edge rather than soothe you with melodic frippery. No, this album keeps it caustic and black as fuck from start to finish, and set the tone with an unremittingly bleak and nihilistic bent to their lyrics, like what Year Of No Light would sound like with their dreamy sludge inverted and drenched in light-devouring malevolence. Clearly, Celeste are shooting for something more than just another attempt at cloning the signature sounds of Neurosis and Isis.
Track Samples:
Sample : CELESTE-Misanthrope(s)
Sample : CELESTE-Misanthrope(s)
Sample : CELESTE-Misanthrope(s)



CHAOS DEI   Arising From Chaos   CD   (Total Rust)    11.98












Track Samples:
Sample : CHAOS DEI-Arising From Chaos
Sample : CHAOS DEI-Arising From Chaos
Sample : CHAOS DEI-Arising From Chaos



CHAOS ECHOES   A Voiceless Ritual   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    19.99














CHAOS ECHOES   Parisian Sessions: Rehearsal I   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    19.99














CHAOS ECHOES   Duo Experience / Spectral Affinities   LP   (Nuclear War Now! Productions)    19.99














CORTEGE FUNEBRE / INTO DAGORLAD   split   CD   (Haunted Moor)    9.98



This split disc from 2005 features two corpse painted French BM crews that share a some members, and both deliver some nicely shredding tracks of Gallic grimness that's got me digging for more records from both. In contrast to the warped avant-garde sounds that I usually hear when spinning any French black metal, Cortege Funebre and Into Dagorlad both go for an older, more classic sound, but with a high degree of riff-chops and songwriting that allow both bands to rise above the hordes of BM rehash.
The first four tracks are from Cortege Funebre, whose cold, droning old school black metal weaves some epic folk melody into their buzzing black swarms, evoking the sounds of both early Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Immortal and the rural majesty of Hate Forest; tracks like "Souffrance mortuaire", "Ultime châtiment" and "La règne de Lucifer" whip up a blackened blast of screeching high pitched screams, ominous droning minor-key riffs, passages of Burzum-esque buzz, and epic melodies swirling in cavernous ambience, moving between walzting dirges and raw swarming swarms, pretty catchy actually, but REALLY raw, too.
With Into Dagorlad, the sound heads into a much thrashier, more bestial assault, songs like "Trones de cendres" and "Cythraul" inciting epic, often seven-minute plus rituals of punky, d-beat ridden blackthrash that draws from a definite Venom influence as well as the likes of Aura Noir, old Darkthrone, Hellhammer, and early French BM, dropping stretches of slower, shambling black dirge into the blazing buzzsaw chaos, and fronted by some killer razor-gargling vokills that are layered into a hysterical screaming din.
And for the last track "Morgue", the members of both bands come together for a four minute slab of abstract buzz, an Abruptum-esque ritual of formless droning darkness, mangled minor key guitar, simple, almost martial drumming, and demonic shrieks and grunts that ends in a cloud of vile utterances and guitar noise. It's a great introduction to both bands, with almost fifty minutes of French necro oozing off this disc. Limited to 500 copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : CORTEGE FUNEBRE / INTO DAGORLAD-split
Sample : CORTEGE FUNEBRE / INTO DAGORLAD-split
Sample : CORTEGE FUNEBRE / INTO DAGORLAD-split



DAPNOM   Paralipomènes À La Divine Comédie   CD   (Mors Ultima Ratio)    13.98



The latest album from Dapnom presents some of the most terrifying and contemplative blackened electronic music ever from this French outfit. Over the past half decade that I've been listening to Dapnom, the music has evolved from a minimal dark ambient approach into something much more complex and detailed, and with Paralipomènes, this project is exploring unique new territory in infernal electronics.
The surreal black underworld of Paralipomènes À La Divine Comédie is almost completely unlike anything else I've heard from other practitioners of black ambience in the French underground. The album is filled with phantasmagoric soundscapes seething with activity, a totally different approach than that of Silcharde's minimal monochromatic rumblings or the sampler-driven hellscapes of Melek-Tha. If anything, Dapnom's music on this disc is closer to certain sectors of minimal electronica, with all of the delicate bleeping and metallic filigree hovering in between the terrifying blasts of orchestral power, and the glitchy fragments of rhythm and pulse that are threaded throughout the passages of dreadful dungeon ambience. This music is definitely not assembled in any random fashion. The soft clanging sounds of hammers slowly striking sheets of dull metal echo in the background, offering a steady ritualistic pace for the low, thrumming drones and high-frequency sonic granules that rush across the vast black plains of the opening track, leading the way as screams of agony suddenly swell from below, riding on a wave of squealing, carefully manipulated feedback and the thunderous roar of dissonant orchestral sound. Those orchestral sounds continue to appear throughout Paralipomènes..., a cacophonic din of de-tuned strings, warped horns, cymbals and other percussion that erupt into shocking blasts of malevolent atonality,. Shocking enough to almost make me leap out of my chair. When Dapnom's music is in a calmer, it can resemble the more minimal improv experiments of AMM, very abstract and exploratory, bits of metallic scrape and rattling percussion twisting around field recordings of ambient room noise and street life, garbled glitchery worming through oceanic waves of cymbal hiss and aged music-box melodies shattered into broken pieces. But these eerie, subdued passages are always a segue way for the explosions of black-mass horror that are at the center of Dapnom's sound, fearsome blasts of symphonic Ligeti-esque string sections, shrieking sax-like reeds and processed electronic drones swarming together into plumes of carnivorous energy, chorales of psychotic voices rising skyward as they sing in inhuman tongues, and children's choirs buried beneath layers of monstrous chanting and ominous chimes and blood-stained violins. This is chilling music, somewhere in between dark abstract electronica and the most diabolical strains of black industrial, and definitely a new level of terror from this long running project. The album looks fantastic, too; the digpack and four-page booklet are beautifully designed with metallic gold ink lettering, and include more of that great Art Nouveau-influenced artwork from Metastazis. Limited to five hundred copies...
Track Samples:
Sample : DAPNOM-Paralipomènes À La Divine Comédie
Sample : DAPNOM-Paralipomènes À La Divine Comédie
Sample : DAPNOM-Paralipomènes À La Divine Comédie



DARVULIA   L'Ombre Malicieuse   CD   (Battlesk'rs)    11.98










Track Samples:
Sample : DARVULIA-L'Ombre Malicieuse
Sample : DARVULIA-L'Ombre Malicieuse
Sample : DARVULIA-L'Ombre Malicieuse



DARVULIA   Belladone   CASSETTE   (Battlesk'rs)    6.50

Belladone IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

One of the groups affiliated with the obscure Les Apôtres De l'Ignominie circle of black metal/black doom bands, Darvulia are another strange French black metal outfit that I've been into for awhile, with several murky, psychedelic albums on the Battleskrs label. The Belladone tape is a newer release, actually a re-issue of a 7" that came out back in 2003 that's pretty short but completely ripping. With a deliberately muddy recording that suggests that the members of Darvulia recorded these songs underneath a sewer grate somewhere in Toulouse. The three songs featured on this Ep are more of the murky, deformed black metal that this band is known for, with twisted, angular riffs that are pretty reminiscent of Deathspell Omega, but they also incorporate other sounds that make this more peculiar like weirdly placed bits of low-fi graveyard ambience and odd rhythmic parts. The first track is a downright bizarre piece for just vocals and guitar that lets loose with some warped LLN-esque ambience, but then the second song "Sorcieres" comes in with a rush of blazing low-fi hate, killer malevolent riffs swarming around the choked, snarling vocals of frontman Kobal (also a member of Sektarism and Malhkebre) and the shambling drumming. This is much rawer than a lot of the French BM that I've been listening to, with an ugly sickly feel with slower lurching riffage that sort of resembles some kind of wretched blackened noise-rock. Lastly, the third track is a faster, speedy blast of dissonance and murky riffing that slips into a killer rocking riff later on, with a level of punk urgency to this one that finished the Ep in a ferocious snarling blast of fuzz.
Released in a limited edition of one hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : DARVULIA-Belladone
Sample : DARVULIA-Belladone
Sample : DARVULIA-Belladone



DARVULIA   L'Alliance des Venins   CD   (Battlesk'rs)    12.98

L'Alliance des Venins IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Back in stock!
If you've been paying attention to the international black metal scene over the past few years, you've no doubt noticed that France has been cultivating an especially fucked-up, furious identity with bands like Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, Eikenskaden, Mystic Forest, and Diapsiquir all putting their own, unique stamp on ferocious, discordant black metal. Darvulia is another on the list, a two-piece from Toulouse, France that features ex-members of Fornication and Nuit Noire, and whose second full length L'Alliance des Venins summons a strange, hellish swarm of stumbling, droning black metal that nods to both the weirdness of early Ved Buens Ende and Fleurety, and the raw, pitch-black buzzsaw hatred of Vlad Tepes and Mutiilation. A thick swirling black metal blur of bleak, quirky minor-key riffs and depressing droning arpeggios, throaty, growling vocals, chaotic drumming, strange passages where the band sudddenly stops and shifts into a waltzing post-rockish dirge with messy drumming and discordant, mathy guitars; weird sloppy punk rock mid-tempo parts, and a general hypnotic murkiness that has a similiar diseased, psychedelic vibe as USBM outfits Xasthur and Leviathan. Excellent mystic black metal, with cool almost all-black artwork and interesting imagery.
Track Samples:
Sample : DARVULIA-L'Alliance des Venins
Sample : DARVULIA-L'Alliance des Venins



DARVULIA   Mysticisme Macabre   CD   (Battlesk'rs)    11.98

Mysticisme Macabre IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER








Track Samples:
Sample : DARVULIA-Mysticisme Macabre
Sample : DARVULIA-Mysticisme Macabre



DARVULIA   L'Alliance Des Venins   LP   (Battlesk'rs)    19.99



    Now available on limited edition vinyl with poster and printed inner sleeve, and includes a bonus track called "Le Silence D'Anna" exclusive to this release. Here's my old review of the original CD release:
    If you've been paying attention to the international black metal scene over the past few years, you've no doubt noticed that France has been cultivating an especially fucked-up, furious identity with bands like Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, Eikenskaden, Mystic Forest, and Diapsiquir all putting their own, unique stamp on ferocious, discordant black metal. Darvulia is another on the list, a two-piece from Toulouse, France that features ex-members of Fornication and Nuit Noire, and whose second full length L'Alliance des Venins summons a strange, hellish swarm of stumbling, droning black metal that nods to both the weirdness of early Ved Buens Ende and Fleurety, and the raw, pitch-black buzzsaw hatred of Vlad Tepes and Mutiilation. A thick swirling black metal blur of bleak, quirky minor-key riffs and depressing droning arpeggios, throaty, growling vocals, chaotic drumming, strange passages where the band suddenly stops and shifts into a waltzing post-rockish dirge with messy drumming and discordant, mathy guitars; weird sloppy punk rock mid-tempo parts, and a general hypnotic murkiness that has a similar diseased, psychedelic vibe as USBM outfits Xasthur and Leviathan. Excellent mystic black metal, with cool almost all-black artwork and interesting imagery.
Track Samples:
Sample : DARVULIA-L'Alliance Des Venins
Sample : DARVULIA-L'Alliance Des Venins



DARVULIA   Belladone   CD   (Battlesk'rs)    10.98



    Now have this vicious three-song EP from French black metal maniacs Darvulia in stock, in a six-panel gatefold digisleeve, each hand-numbered and limited to four hundred ninety-nine copies...
   One of the groups affiliated with the obscure Les Apôtres De l'Ignominie circle of black metal/black doom bands, Darvulia are another strange French black metal outfit that I've been into for awhile, with several murky, psychedelic albums on the Battleskrs label. The Belladone tape is a newer release, actually a re-issue of a 7" that came out back in 2003 that's pretty short but completely ripping. With a deliberately muddy recording that suggests that the members of Darvulia recorded these songs underneath a sewer grate somewhere in Toulouse. The three songs featured on this Ep are more of the murky, deformed black metal that this band is known for, with twisted, angular riffs that are pretty reminiscent of Deathspell Omega, but they also incorporate other sounds that make this more peculiar like weirdly placed bits of low-fi graveyard ambience and odd rhythmic parts. The first track is a downright bizarre piece for just vocals and guitar that lets loose with some warped LLN-esque ambience, but then the second song "Sorcieres" comes in with a rush of blazing low-fi hate, killer malevolent riffs swarming around the choked, snarling vocals of frontman Kobal (also a member of Sektarism and Malhkebre) and the shambling drumming. This is much rawer than a lot of the French BM that I've been listening to, with an ugly sickly feel with slower lurching riffage that sort of resembles some kind of wretched blackened noise-rock. Lastly, the third track is a faster, speedy blast of dissonance and murky riffing that slips into a killer rocking riff later on, with a level of punk urgency to this one that finished the Ep in a ferocious snarling blast of fuzz.
Track Samples:
Sample : DARVULIA-Belladone
Sample : DARVULIA-Belladone
Sample : DARVULIA-Belladone



DARVULIA / SEKTARISM   Mort Foetale / Punition Divine   CASSETTE   (Dead Seed Productions)    11.98



     Also released on vinyl by Nuclear War Now, this split album sees two of the most sickening outfits in the Les Apôtres De l'Ignominie circle finally pairing up, each offering a single, roughly twenty-minute long epic of satanic depravity sprawled across each side. This limited-edition cassette was put out by the French label Dead Seed in a cool hand-assembled package, the tape housed inside a printed box with a twelve page booklet, which is then enclosed in a die-cut slipcase, all printed with aged, sepia-toned images that resemble Victorian-era death portraits. Definitely one of the cooler-looking tapes on this week's list.
     It's also one of the more surprising. Darvulia's "Mort Foetale" sounds totally unlike anything else I've heard from the French black metal outfit, seemingly abandoning their cruel, dissonant black metal for something more twisted. Granted, their music has always had a diseased, twisted edge, but this stuff is by far the weirdest and most experimental music that they've brought us. The side meanders through a drugged haze of random guitar noise and improvised drumming that drifts and lurches in slow motion, the vocals stretched out into an incomprehensible, putrid fog; swells of brushed cymbals surge in the background amid monotonous drones and washes of grim guitar ambience. Honestly, this sounds more like Nurse With Wound or some way-out European minimalist improv than black metal; the atmosphere is still thoroughly malevolent and hellish, though, erupting into a cacophony of mangled blackened buzz and minor key guitar only in the very last minutes. I loved it, but those looking for anything resembling standard black metal won't find it here.
     On "Punition Divine", Sektarism counter with one of their own shambling, repetitious garage-doom rituals, pounding out a miserable two-chord riff in slow motion for long stretches of time, fronted by the singer's frantic, anguished vocals. Over the course of the twenty minute track, this deathrite procession breaks up into surges of demented noisiness and improvised heaviness, formless riffing collapsing into shrieking feedback, scraped guitar strings echoing through a haze of effects. But it always returns to that central dirge. Grimy and psychedelic, this song is slightly more polished than previous Sektarism stuff, but it's still ugly, fucked-up music, inhabiting a similar realm as hypno-creeps Aluk Todolo but with a much more narco-damaged, filth-encrusted sound.


DEATHSPELL OMEGA   Kenose   CD   (Southern Lord)    14.98

Kenose IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

We'd been hearing all sorts of cool shit about this album for a while, and man, does this not disappoint. This French outfit deliver some of the weirdest, heaviest, most hallucinogenic black metal we've heard since first getting turned onto Blut Aus Nord. Over the course of this 37 minute album (the follow up to their ground-breaking Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice album), Deathspell Omega warps classic black metal shapes into hellish progressive new forms while maintaining an unrelentingly grim and brutal assault. Three tracks of unique, intense outsider blast, with ghostly post-rock spaces and nightmarish ambience building into blasts of buzzing superdistorted minor-key black metal holocaust, insane squalls of blastbeats and creep groans,intoxicated woozy riffing and blood curdling psychedelic drones, unearthly industrial dirge pulsations, haunted melodic arpeggios,total necro attacks, interdimensional doom crawls, a totally hallucinatory and nightmarish assault of psychotropic blackened extremism with moments of unbelieveable beauty. Absolutely fucking awesome, blending powerful avant rock ideas with vicious back metal ferocity. Fans of Ved Buens Ende, Blut Aus Nord, and Enslaved will blow their freaking tops over Kenose. Southern Lord recreated the original releases impressive Digipack packaging design with thick-azz 40-page booklet of creepily beautiful artwork, Biblical texts, and stunning religio-philosophical thought. Highly recommended.


DEATHSPELL OMEGA   Drought   LP   (Norma.Evangelium.Diaboli)    22.98

Drought IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

We now have the Norma Evangelium Diaboli vinyl release of Drought in stock.
We've reached a point where it's arguable that Deathspell Omega can even be called black metal. Not that I'm complaining - for the past decade, this French outfit has evolved from relatively straightforward Darkthrone worship into a vastly more experimental and cerebral approach comprised of themes of metaphysical Satanism, a vicious discordant strain of black metal, and pitch-black surrealist undertones that coursed through their often sprawling multi-part epics. Their mid-oughts albums are inarguably some of the most interesting and experimental recordings to come out of the black metal underground. More recently, this sound has further mutated into something that half the time sounds more like some infernal math-rock outfit playing at hyper-aggressive levels of speed and volume or a blackened, hellbound variant on the evil prog rock of bands like Univers Zero and Les Morts Vont Vite-era Shub-Niggurath; there's little at this point in their career that even resembles anything else in the French black metal underground, and there's certainly nothing here at all remotely like traditional BM.
For anyone who thought that the last Deathspell Omega album Paracletus was a little too straightforward compared to their previous stuff will no doubt appreciate the sound of Drought, a recent six-song Ep that sounds to me like the 'mathiest' stuff they've done in years, with long stretches of music that go into a much more chaotic, almost noise-rock like blast of angular aggression, or sinks into stark, brooding jangle. The opening song "Salowe Vision" begins with the sound of somber clean guitars, strummed chords ringing out in slow motion over somewhat jazzy melodic shapes and the spacious, slow-core like drumming that faintly resembles a more dour take on Codeine's sound. This slow-drifting, lugubrious crawl through clouds of reverb later unfolds into that sharp-edged discordant math-metal until the band slams into the total thrash of "Fiery Serpents"; maniacal blastbeats and bizarre jagged rhythms jut from a storm of skronky riffing and guttural vocals, a heavy Greg Ginn-esque vibe creeping through the guitarist's atonal riffs once again. The blasting frenzy of "Scorpions & Drought" and "Abrasive Swirling Murk" are where Deathspell get the closest to full-on black metal, lots of killer frostbitten tremolo riffs and blastbeats, but even here their blackened violence is warped into something more dissonant and complex, especially on the crazed "Murk" where the angular metal transforms into a rather majestic blast of regal math rock. That sort of dark mathy heaviness is also apparent on the closer "The Crackled Book of Life", a tangle of eerie riffing and complex atonal melodies that wrap themselves around lurching bass-heavy dirges and strange ghostly ambience, the sudden appearance of muted choir voices rising in delirious liturgical hymn.
Despite its short length, this is another engrossing piece of contorted blackness from Deathspell, no less heady and malevolent than their previous works despite featuring some of the bands more prog-rock informed arrangements thus far. The liturgical atmosphere remains alongside the band's willfully arcane philosophies, even as the music unfolds into unexpected (and quite un-BM-like) new forms. Features really striking, nightmarish cover artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : DEATHSPELL OMEGA-Drought
Sample : DEATHSPELL OMEGA-Drought
Sample : DEATHSPELL OMEGA-Drought



DEATHSPELL OMEGA   Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice   CD   (Ajna Offensive)    14.98

Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

2004's Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice had been out of print for some time before being reissued through Ajna Offensive/Southern Lord, but now this masterpiece of weird, theological black metal is readily available, and we've got it on both CD and a special limited edition double LP release.
Deathspell Omega's third album Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice is a high water mark for 21st century progressive black metal, and four years after it's original release, it remains one of the most ferociously groundbreaking albums to come out of the French black metal scene in this decade. Previous releases had showcased a raw, buzzing Satanic blastbeast descended directly from the primitive black metal of Darkthrone, but by the time Deathspell Omega recorded Si Monvmentvm, they became something much different, harnessing the grim unearthly glow of Black Legions outfits like Mutiilation, the progressive tendencies of Leviathan, and the droning midpaced blackness of Burzum. The music is mysterious and otherworldy, filled with hypnotic midpaced tempos and the infrequent blastbeat, weirdly mathy arpeggiated guitar parts that have drawn comparisons to post-rockers Slint, sorrowful but surprisingly memorable riffs, convoluted arrangements and eerie ambient passages, subtle industrial noise, evil croaking vocals, and haunting Gregorian-style chants. A strangely complex and melodic black metal masterpiece. Highly recommended.


DEATHSPELL OMEGA   The Synarchy Of Molten Bones   LP   (Norma.Evangelium.Diaboli)    23.99
















DEATHSPELL OMEGA   Chaining The Kacheton   CD   (Ajna Offensive)    13.98








Track Samples:
Sample : DEATHSPELL OMEGA-Chaining The Kacheton



DEATHSPELL OMEGA   The Synarchy Of Molten Bones   CD   (Norma.Evangelium.Diaboli)    15.98
















DEATHSPELL OMEGA   Mass Grave Aesthetics   CD   (Norma.Evangelium.Diaboli)    12.98

Mass Grave Aesthetics IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

A reissue of the Deathspell Omega track from the From The Entrails compilation that they shared with Antaeus, Mutiilation, and Malicious Secrets. Yeah, just one song...but what a song! Mass Grave Aesthetics is a twenty minute epic, loaded with insanely complex riffs, eerie post-rock breakdowns, whirlwinds of dissonant guitar noise, sudden time signature changes, ghoulish blackened drones, and those awesome Slint-esque math rock riffs, all wound up in a ferocious avant-garde black metal assault.
Packaged in a deluxe digipack with matte finish and embossed artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : DEATHSPELL OMEGA-Mass Grave Aesthetics



DEATHSPELL OMEGA   Drought   CD   (Season Of Mist)    11.99



You know, we've reached a point where it's arguable that Deathspell Omega can even be called black metal. Not that I'm complaining - for the past decade, this French outfit has evolved from relatively straightforward Darkthrone worship into a vastly more experimental and cerebral approach comprised of themes of metaphysical Satanism, a vicious discordant strain of black metal, and pitch-black surrealist undertones that coursed through their often sprawling multi-part epics. Their mid-oughts albums are inarguably some of the most interesting and experimental recordings to come out of the black metal underground. More recently, this sound has further mutated into something that half the time sounds more like some infernal math-rock outfit playing at hyper-aggressive levels of speed and volume or a blackened, hellbound variant on the evil prog rock of bands like Univers Zero and Les Morts Vont Vite-era Shub-Niggurath; there's little at this point in their career that even resembles anything else in the French black metal underground, and there's certainly nothing here at all remotely like traditional BM.
For anyone who thought that the last Deathspell Omega album Paracletus was a little too straightforward compared to their previous stuff will no doubt appreciate the sound of Drought, a recent six-song Ep that sounds to me like the 'mathiest' stuff they've done in years, with long stretches of music that go into a much more chaotic, almost noise-rock like blast of angular aggression, or sinks into stark, brooding jangle. The opening song "Salowe Vision" begins with the sound of somber clean guitars, strummed chords ringing out in slow motion over somewhat jazzy melodic shapes and the spacious, slow-core like drumming that faintly resembles a more dour take on Codeine's sound. This slow-drifting, lugubrious crawl through clouds of reverb later unfolds into that sharp-edged discordant math-metal until the band slams into the total thrash of "Fiery Serpents"; maniacal blastbeats and bizarre jagged rhythms jut from a storm of skronky riffing and guttural vocals, a heavy Greg Ginn-esque vibe creeping through the guitarist's atonal riffs once again. The blasting frenzy of "Scorpions & Drought" and "Abrasive Swirling Murk" are where Deathspell get the closest to full-on black metal, lots of killer frostbitten tremolo riffs and blastbeats, but even here their blackened violence is warped into something more dissonant and complex, especially on the crazed "Murk" where the angular metal transforms into a rather majestic blast of regal math rock. That sort of dark mathy heaviness is also apparent on the closer "The Crackled Book of Life", a tangle of eerie riffing and complex atonal melodies that wrap themselves around lurching bass-heavy dirges and strange ghostly ambience, the sudden appearance of muted choir voices rising in delirious liturgical hymn.
Despite its short length, this is another engrossing piece of contorted blackness from Deathspell, no less heady and malevolent than their previous works despite featuring some of the bands more prog-rock informed arrangements thus far. The liturgical atmosphere remains alongside the band's willfully arcane philosophies, even as the music unfolds into unexpected (and quite un-BM-like) new forms. Comes in a gatefold sleeve with some really striking, nightmarish cover artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : DEATHSPELL OMEGA-Drought
Sample : DEATHSPELL OMEGA-Drought
Sample : DEATHSPELL OMEGA-Drought



DEATHSPELL OMEGA   Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice   2 x LP   (Norma.Evangelium.Diaboli)    32.98

Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

We also now carry the limited edition, deluxe gatefold double LP edition of this masterwork of progressive French black metal that was released by Norma Evangelium Diaboli. Somewhat expensive, but this double LP looks amazing, filled with Deathspell Omega's twisted theological lyricism and their dark, evocative artwork, and also includes a large Deathspell Omega poster.
2004's Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice had been out of print for some time before being reissued through Ajna Offensive/Southern Lord, but now this masterpiece of weird, theological black metal is readily available, and we've got it on both CD and a special limited edition double LP release.
Deathspell Omega's third album Si Monvmentvm Reqvires Circvmspice is a high water mark for 21st century progressive black metal, and four years after it's original release, it remains one of the most ferociously groundbreaking albums to come out of the French black metal scene in this decade. Previous releases had showcased a raw, buzzing Satanic blastbeast descended directly from the primitive black metal of Darkthrone, but by the time Deathspell Omega recorded Si Monvmentvm, they became something much different, harnessing the grim unearthly glow of Black Legions outfits like Mutiilation, the progressive tendencies of Leviathan, and the droning midpaced blackness of Burzum. The music is mysterious and otherworldy, filled with hypnotic midpaced tempos and the infrequent blastbeat, weirdly mathy arpeggiated guitar parts that have drawn comparisons to post-rockers Slint, sorrowful but surprisingly memorable riffs, convoluted arrangements and eerie ambient passages, subtle industrial noise, evil croaking vocals, and haunting Gregorian-style chants. A strangely complex and melodic black metal masterpiece. Highly recommended.


DIAMATREGON   Blasphemy For Satan   CD   (Tumult)    13.98

Blasphemy For Satan IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

These French black metallers deliver a ripping, filthy blast of chaotic, skull scraping black metal with Blasphemy For Satan, one of the more intense black metal offerings we just took in from the Tumult back catalog. Sort of similiar to a rawer, more aggressive old Gorgoroth or a faster Vlad Tepes that's been coated in white noise, Diamatregon keep it in the red, their songs ultra saturated in distortion, generally delivered at 1000 mph blasts but occasionally breaking down into a crushing midtempo part or flatlining into crawling sludge. But Diamatregon are also masters of melody, with awesome hooks behind every song making their satanic noisy BM way catchier than you would expect. There's a killer hyperspeed cover of Misfit's "Death Comes Ripping" towards the end, right before the band sinks into an epic 17-minute jam called "The Beast Is Dead" that takes the band through passages of psychedelic drones and Sabbath riffage, weird samples and harsh noise, stumbling noise-doom and black metal marches. The whole album is 45 minutes long, a highly recommended slab of super-catchy, convoluted black metal weirdness and intensity packaged in a bright black and red case.
Track Samples:
Sample : DIAMATREGON-Blasphemy For Satan
Sample : DIAMATREGON-Blasphemy For Satan
Sample : DIAMATREGON-Blasphemy For Satan
Sample : DIAMATREGON-Blasphemy For Satan



DIAPSIQUIR   Virus S.T.N.   CD   (Necrocosm)    11.98



   The 2005 album from one of France's most depraved black metal outfits is finally back in print! Here's my old write-up of the album from when we first got it in stock back then:
   Took multiple spins of Virus S.T.N. to even begin to get a grasp of what is going on with France's Diapsiquir. The sophomore album from these eclectic black metal surrealists is so intricately assembled and disorientating, it is impossible to absorb everything that is going on here in just one sitting. Just looking at the design of this thing, it's hard to guess what this will sound like: collages of photographs capturing blips of urban contamination surround the Diapsiquir logo, an awesome, heavily stylized riff on the "goat of Mendes" image, with the outer ring of the logo inscribed in the words "Seringue Absorption Torture Alienation Nihilisme", which obviously forms the acronym SATAN. All evil and misanthropic enough, but as soon as the eerie beats and classical sampling of opening track "Incubation" kicks this off, it's pretty clear that this is going to be anything but traditional black metal.
    Distant, ambient synths and sampled string sections play a recognizable classical melody over dubby, staticky trip-hop beats and abrasive industrial samples, the beats constantly shifting as far-off black metal riffs and distant sounds of screaming children appear alongside deep, raspy, half-spoken vocals. It's more like apocalyptic, avant-garde trip-hop than anything resembling black metal. But then "Venin Intemporel, Rouille Universelle, Satan" kicks in with that weirdly atonal black metal riff and what sounds like a mix of both blasting drum programming and actual live drumming, and this erupts into total violence; multiple vocalists screech and howl and rant over the percussive thrash before the song turns into a trippy dirge, glitchy electronic noise suddenly sweeping over another eerie, discordant riff and time-delayed vocals, before transforming into a surreal mash-up of Voivod style riffs, crushing breakbeats, damaged French folk music, squawking shrieks trading off with electronically processed vocals and a sort of broken cadence that sounds like some kind of demented, mutant French hip hop.
    It's a bizarre mash-up of influences and sounds that these guys put together, but Diapsiquir somehow manage to make their maniacal cacophony extremely evil sounding, imbued with a gleeful misanthropy that seeps from their whacked-out song structures and forays into fucked-up, anti-human hip-hop. Definitely not what you'd probably expect from a duo that includes one of the guys from blasphemous French black metallers Arkhon Infaustus. But there's certainly a strong current of black metal that runs through this album, an industrialized vision of black metal that prowls the same grim, post-Armageddon urban wastelands as those inhabited by Aborym, Mysticum and Dödheimsgard, but so much more fucked-up and drug-addled. Each song a blackened fever dream of pounding techno beats and grinding Industrial rhythms, powerful and dissonant black/thrash riffs, spurts of avant-garde jazz, appropriated themes from both The Godfather and Scarface film scores tossed into vats of hallucinatory electronics, songs frequently taking a ninety-degree stylistic turn right in the middle of the track. Even the production style of Virus S.T.N. is twisted, using weird mixing decisions and post-production fuckery that makes parts of this sound like some avant-garde hip-hop record. Utterly confounding, flamboyantly weird industrial/electro/black metal strangeness; these guys go pretty far beyond the experimentations of even the likes of Manes and Dødheimsgard. Highly recommended to adventurers in the field of psychedelic, dystopian black metal.
Track Samples:
Sample : DIAPSIQUIR-Virus S.T.N.
Sample : DIAPSIQUIR-Virus S.T.N.
Sample : DIAPSIQUIR-Virus S.T.N.



DIAPSIQUIR   A.N.T.I.   CD   (Necrocosm)    14.98



In all of French black metal, you would be hard pressed to find a stranger and more depraved gang than Diapsiquir. Formed in the mid-90s and with several supremely bizarre discs of industrialized, experimental black metal under their belt, this band is the creation of mastermind Toxik Harmst, also a member of the latter-day lineup of fellow French BM terrorists Arkhon Infaustus. It's been six years since the last time that Toxik H. and Diapsiquir came out with a new full length (2005's Virus S.T.N.), and from the sound of their latest A.N.T.I. (which stands for "Amer Nerveux Toxique Instable"), it appears that they had completely lost their minds in the interim. Long in possession of onw of the widest weird streaks in all of French black metal, Diapsiqur have outdone even themselves with this new album of depraved, opiate-laced vision, mashing together weird French hip-hop with violent black metal riffs, drk jazz and broken electronic rhythms, grandiose theatrical music and sinister industrial overtones casting shadow across passages of acid-pop brilliance, and furious metallic punk together into a delirious vision of Satanic excess.
The bizarre industrial metal and carnival music of the first track begins the album in a drugged delirium of chaotic energy that, after a minute or so, suddenly veers off into a very weird French hip hop jam, the drunken flow of ther lyrics combining with another vocalist who delivers his lines in an inebriated channson style, as the fluttering guitar and broken breakbeats shuffle along languidly, then spinning off yet again into more oddball industrial metallic chug, squelchy synthesizers, childlike female vocals, traditional French folk music played on acoustic guitars, the music constantly shape shifting every few moments. The singer often belts out his vocals in a weepy, impassioned croon, and when those sung vocals appear, the band invokes visions of some fucked fusion of Serge Gainsbourg, Mr Bungle and the most spastic, freaked-out fringes of French black metal.
Then, with the second song "Peste", the band delivers a catchy, ominous pop song, blackened guitars underscoring the vocal hooks and driving dark alt rock, sliding into woozy doom-laden heaviness, more of that crazed hip-hop flow over slow, dissonant black metal riffing, wild bursts of white soul, soulful trumpets and tinny tremolo riffs, and multiple vocalists wailing all at once. It's intoxicating and delirious, and actually really similar to late-era Manes, but even more bizarre and schizophrenic than those guys ever were. From there, grim electronic ambience leads into tangles of wrecked guitar noise and glorious church choirs of he short interlude "Fuel", then transforming into the evil damaged jazz/blues doom of the title track. The song "Ennui" brings more of that frantic French pop to a battery of blastbeats, lurching circus-metal riffs, haunted pipe organs. folk guitar, and "Seul" is one of the catchiest songs on the album, starting off as a kind of melodic punk but evolving into something intensely debauched. The rest of the album is as unpredictable, constantly slipping from the furious hip-hop flow into a ragged industrial breakbeats, vicious dissonant guitar parts reminiscent of Blut Aus Nord forming into mutant pop hooks, an evil, perverse agenda tangible beneath the almost joyous genre-smashing insanity. I know that many of you will see the hip-hop references and have an immediately negative reaction, but the way that Diapsiquir blends this sound into their blackened industrial psychosis works perfectly to create the atmosphere of urban filth and decay that is synonymous with their sound. Fucking genius - unlike anything else, although fans of Manes and Carnival In Coal fans should definitely check this out....
Track Samples:
Sample : DIAPSIQUIR-A.N.T.I.
Sample : DIAPSIQUIR-A.N.T.I.
Sample : DIAPSIQUIR-A.N.T.I.
Sample : DIAPSIQUIR-A.N.T.I.



DRASTUS   Taphos   CD   (Flamme Noire)    14.98

Taphos IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Previous releases from this mysterious one-man black metal band from France have been very hard to come by...as a matter of fact, each time we have gotten a title in from Drastus, it's well after the pressing has completely sold out through the label, which means we end up blowing through our copies in short order. We probably owe that to the fact that Drastus' harsh, hypnotic black metal attack is some of the finest that the French label Flamme Noir has offered. This 5 song, twenty minute mini-album delivers the goods, with a relentlessly cold and hateful wall of massively distorted buzzsaw that has a industrial feel to it, each Drastus song a thick dense swirl of white-noise riffing overloaded with a uniquely vicious level of treble, tangles of epic, apocalyptic melodic soloing, weird crooning singing and savage gasoline-guzzling snarls delivered through an array of delay FX, and splattery hyperspeed drum machine blastbeats. Those are some of the fastest fucking blasts I've ever heard from a black metal outfit, regardless of whether or not they employ a drum machine. The blasts are pushed so far into the red that it sounds like gabba noise at times. But there's also some creepy ambience here as well...the instrumental "Columns Of Decline Part I" is nothing more than cascading layers of a malevolent 2-chord riff repeated over and over as it becomes an icy hypno-guitar mantra. But when "Part II" erupts, its a white hot wall of fuzzblast blurr with those machine blasts ricocheting off of Drastus' warped riffs. Awesome, hallucinogenic black metal buzzscapes, suffocating and vicious yet strangely beautiful and hypnotic, like mixing Deathspell Omega with Merzbow levels of white noise and eerie Troum-esque drone.
Track Samples:
Sample : DRASTUS-Taphos
Sample : DRASTUS-Taphos
Sample : DRASTUS-Taphos



EIKENSKADEN   There Is No Light At The End Of The Tunnel   CD   (Blackmetal.com)    11.98



The one man French black metal entity Eikenskaden returns with it's most recent full length,serving up eight tracks of sweeping 'Romantic Black Metal"""", a style that Eikenskaden mastermind Stefan Kozak has pioneered both here and with his Mystic Forest project. I don't know if you could call this a genre as Kozak is (to the best of my limited knowledge) the only person working with this fusion of raw, Burzumic black metal and neo-classical melody, but it's certainly original. Over the course of four albums (including 2001's The Black Laments Symphony on Chanteloup Creations, 2003's The Last Dance on Sacral Productions, and 2004's 665.999 on tUMULt), Eikenskaden has melded an intense and harsh buzzing BM assault to baroque melancholy melodies that seem to be inspired by the likes of Chopin and Debussy, with a wonderful low-fi production lapping at the edges of the songs with crackling, gauzy distortion and hiss. Totally beautiful and catchy, with an atmosphere that you could almost describe as nostalgic, especially with songs like 'Eternity is Not Product By Time', which has one of Kozak's finest melodies ever, but blown out and distorted and grandiose, almost like a classical Xasthur, with subtle shades of pop majesty appearing through the grit and buzz. Highly recommended particularly to those of you that share my affinity for twisted French black metal, this disc comes in a full color package with 12 page booklet that features all of the lyrics.


EMPTINESS, THE   self-titled   CD   (K35 Incorporated)    11.98



     I get all kinds of strange black metal here at C-Blast, but the recent debut from French outfit The Emptiness is definitely one of the strangest that's come in here lately, offering a surrealistic strain of avant-garde blackness that combines muted BM-style drumming with a miasma of hushed croaked vocals and almost theatrical singing, backed by wailing dissonant horns and piano, and streaked with murky, wavering electronic keyboard tones that all fuse together into this very odd, weirdly jazzy mutation of blackened prog. Not to be confused with the slightly more well-known Belgian band called Emptiness, these guys have a much more tenuous connection to traditional black metal, with most of it existing just in the band's aggressive, blastbeat-laden drumming.
     The first time I heard these guys, I was much more reminded of that Rhode Island outfit Gravesideservice, who also combined black metal style drumming with weird classical elements, but as The Emptiness's eponymous debut continues to unfold, this stuff ends up going in a more hypnotic and unsettling direction. Thanks to those grating horns, there's also a really heavy avant-jazz influence, with several tracks having a chaotic, improvisational feel. The whole album has a constant backdrop of weird electronic sounds and droning instrumentation that lurks behind each of these eight songs, and it's against that backing swirling murk that The Emptiness drapes their blaring trumpets and squealing saxophones, often joined by washes of eerie, funerary chamber strings; that stuff alone would have made this a kind of creepy, outsider jazz album, but with the addition of those blastbeats and thrashing tempos that blaze through most of the songs, it becomes something much more crazed. Like the song "Why ?", which at first unfolds into a much less metallic, more straightforward (but still plenty weird and dissonant) avant-jazz sound, morphing from a clattery, almost Bohren-esque darkness into a murky black blast. Those dramatic vocal croaks are pretty malevolent as well, spitting a stream of consciousness flow of misanthropy and existential despair, and the guitars creep through the shadows, often relegated to a repeating minor key arpeggio that circles endlessly deep in the mix. It's an unusual but terrifically evil sound these guys have going on, the majority of this resembling some far-out atmospheric European jazz improvisation with ghoulish vocals, frigid blastbeats and swirling horror-movie organs glimmering blearily in the background. It can be downright spellbinding at times, an album that might well appeal as much to fans of ugEXPLODE-style aggro jazz as those into the more outré fringes of black metal inhabited by the likes of Aderlating, Nahvalr, Gnaw Their Tongues and Mamaleek.
Track Samples:
Sample : EMPTINESS, THE-self-titled
Sample : EMPTINESS, THE-self-titled
Sample : EMPTINESS, THE-self-titled



ETERNAL BLADE, THE   self-titled   CD   (Demysterris)    9.98



Full on bombastic French symphonic electro-black metal a la Cradle Of Filth and Dimmu Borgir, with the added bonus of baroque-meets-early 20th century classical-meets-A.M. easy listening sap, Ren Faire female harmonies, ridiculous Castlevania/Legend Of Zelda nintendotronic keyboard melodies, and sweeping technical axe shred with awesome 80's style, Steve Vai,pop-metal eruptions. Weird, super majestic and atmospheric, and it's sort of a concept album with Chinese mythology themes and named after a Tsui Hark film! It's pretty amazing that this massive, weird black metal/prog/classical/pop opera is the product of just two French guys. Pretty cool!


FUNERALIUM   self-titled   CD   (Total Rust)    11.98

self-titled IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

If extremely bleak, corroded doom metal is your preferred audio damage, then I highly suggest you begin checking out the Total Rust catalog, pronto. I dicsovered this Israeli based label at the beginning of the summer when the label head Gad contacted me about stocking his releases through Crucial Blast...and it only took a few minutes of perusing the Total Rust website to realize that this label is indeed putting out the ultra-heavy stuff. Releases from long-time sludgecore faves Negative Reaction and newcomers Mourning Dawn and The Knell had me instantly drooling for Total Rust's entire catalog, and I've been discovering some amazing new stuff like Funeralium. This French band has members of Mourning Dawn and old schoolers Ataraxie, but the sound here is way more stripped down and nasty than either of those outfits...no, Funeralium are extreme doom of the most tortured type, and their six-song, 76 minute debut CD on Total Rust is all lumbering, ultra-bleak steez that's one of the more psychotic sounding takes on extreme doom since Khanate hung up their straitjackets. Funeralium's mangled doom riffs are stretched waaay out over plodding drum strikes, lush buzzing powerchords hanging in the dank between the super slow motion dirge beats while the singer "Marquis" spewing hysterical wailing screams and deep, ogrish grunts. Funeralium's use of feedback is pretty inspired as well, with killer strains of amplifier howl summoned from their cabinets and forged into sheets of ominous drone that floats wraithlike alongside their pounding, depressing dirge doom. It's those crazed, freaked out and expressive vocals that really set this apart though, sounding genuinely tormented, like the demented howls and weeping of a schizophrenic mental patient locked away in a padded cell. Imagine the unhinged suicidal screamathons of Striborg or Abruptum combined with a devestating extreme doom assualt a la Burning Witch, Thorr's Hammer, Moss, Khanate, or Thergothon. Crushing, droning, skullmelting heaviness that batters you into a trance with it's nearly 20-minute song lengths and minimalistic, repetitive riffing, using some interesting breaks into passages of clean guitars and abstract riffs stripped of any distortion, which accentuate the bulldozing heaviness when the serious riffage kicks in. Comes with a thick 16 page booklet filled with lyrics (which will ruin yer day, believe me) and strange, subtly creepy artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : FUNERALIUM-self-titled
Sample : FUNERALIUM-self-titled
Sample : FUNERALIUM-self-titled



FUNERARIUM   Noces Chimiques   CD   (Demysterris)    2.00



Fucked up symphonic French black metal from FUNERARIUM, opening up with majestic epic riffs and soaring melodic synths,insane cackling vocals, and shades of brutal death metal riffing, similiar to CRADLE OF FILTH but more baroque, but as things progress, all sorts of electronic noises and breakbeats and industrial rhythms start creeping in, neo-classical ambience and video game bleeps on top of the hyperspeed symphonic blasting, plus shoegazey guitar parts, weird drowning-goblin vocal noise effects ...and on top of all of that, there are a couple points in Noces Chimiques where the hyperblast black metal suddenly morphs into full on power metal territory, total Dragonforce/Blind Guardian grapefuit-clutching vocals and all, with massively catchy riffs and hooks. A weird mix, but we've gotta admit that it works when these guys drop it on us. Def not for black metal purists, but those of us into epic electro-BM with an Iron Maiden fixation certainly dig this. CD also features enhanced CD-ROM content, including a music video for "Raperta Sapienta" that has FUNERARIUM blasting away in the middle of the woods.


GIAMON   The Old Buried Memories   CD   (Rusty Axe)    9.98



This album has several things going for it before I put it in the stereo - awesome, absolutely indecipherable logo; a proud declaration of their current status as "Gallic Pagan Metal"; a high potential for over-the-top epicness with songs running 11-15 minutes long. It's another recent offering from Rusty Axe too, which almost guarentees that this is going to be some sort of raw, idiosyncratic outsider black metal. This one-man band is the first French black metal project that I've heard from Rusty Axe, I think, which is kinda weird when I think about it considering the label's predilection for fucked-up black metal, which France exports by the bushel. Compared to a lot of the stuff coming out of France lately, Giamon is actually pretty conventional style-wise, playing a brand of majestic, woodland-obsessed black metal filled with epic, regal riffs, folky elements, and furious buzzing guitars. It's closer to the sounds of older Ulver, early Drudkh, and older Forgotten Woods (without the weird psychedelic stuff). Where Giamon takes this sound and turns it into something uniquely his is how he assembles the buzzing, blurred riffs and loping drums into these epic prog-length arrangements that stretch out to over 15 minutes (as on the track "The Essence". Lots of parts, and lots of repeated riffs create a hypnotic atmosphere that works to evoke feelings and images from the rural French countryside, each song immersed in forest worship, the riffs majestic and melodic, drums mostly midpaced, the production is raw and stripped down but everything cuts through clearly, and the vocals are a distant distorted blur, shredded screams and shrieks clouded by the mist of hiss and high end treble that envelops the album. Everyonce in a while, the music erupts into weird blasts of noise, or dark harmonium-like drones, or fades away into long stretches of forest noise, birds chirping and the sound of running water suggesting the sounds of primordial wilderness, but mostly Giamon keeps this stately and hypnotic, letting each epic song unravel in a tapestry of buzzing ambience and trebly folk melodies.
Track Samples:
Sample : GIAMON-The Old Buried Memories
Sample : GIAMON-The Old Buried Memories



GLORIOR BELLI   Manifesting The Raging Beast   CD   (Southern Lord)    13.98



Noone delivers progressive, forward-thinking black metal the way the French do, and I can never get enough French black metal. I'm constantly listening to bands like Alcest, Blut Aus Nord, Spektr, and Deathspell Omega over here, and another French band that I finally hear not long ago that has been equally kicking my ass is Glorior Belli, who released their last album Manifesting The Raging Beast through Southern Lord about a year ago. This band is kind of a French black metal supergroup, made up of members of bands like Merrimack, Obscurus Advocam, Slavian and Black Flame, but if anything, Glorior Belli channels a similiar brand of discordant, dissonant black metal as Deathspell Omega throughout these eight songs. Seriously, Deathspell Omega fans will love these guys. Their sound is filled with a similiar sort of seasick riffery and epic, apocalyptic leads, the guitars lurching through angular mathy riffs and dense highspeed buzz, drums going from full-on blast to strange sputtering mid-paced rhythms and that weird sort of blackened, disorienting Slint-esque mathrock dissonance that really gets them the Deathspell comparison. The songs are complex and intricate, made up of assorted passages of raging blackened thrash and passages of warped post-rock n' chiming melodies and waltzing, discordant doominess, and amazingly catchy melodic lines are strewn all across the songs, making this both as grim and fearsome as Deathspell while injecting the music with a unique melodic quality of their own. And like both Deathspell and Funeral Mist, Glorior Belli have given their album a MASSIVE recording that's way heavier and thicker sounding than most black metal albums, infusing their discordant satanic blasts with a crushing presence. I love this album! It's another essential disc for anyone into the super-raging blackness of Deathspell, Funeral Mist, Katharsis, and Watain!
Track Samples:
Sample : GLORIOR BELLI-Manifesting The Raging Beast
Sample : GLORIOR BELLI-Manifesting The Raging Beast
Sample : GLORIOR BELLI-Manifesting The Raging Beast



GLORIOR BELLI   Manifesting The Raging Beast   LP   (Southern Lord)    15.98

Manifesting The Raging Beast IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Just found some of the last copies of this French black metal ritual from Glorior Belli...
Noone delivers progressive, forward-thinking black metal the way the French do, and I can never get enough French black metal. I'm constantly listening to bands like Alcest, Blut Aus Nord, Spektr, and Deathspell Omega over here, and another French band that I finally hear not long ago that has been equally kicking my ass is Glorior Belli, who released their last album Manifesting The Raging Beast through Southern Lord about a year ago. This band is kind of a French black metal supergroup, made up of members of bands like Merrimack, Obscurus Advocam, Slavian and Black Flame, but if anything, Glorior Belli channels a similiar brand of discordant, dissonant black metal as Deathspell Omega throughout these eight songs. Seriously, Deathspell Omega fans will love these guys. Their sound is filled with a similiar sort of seasick riffery and epic, apocalyptic leads, the guitars lurching through angular mathy riffs and dense highspeed buzz, drums going from full-on blast to strange sputtering mid-paced rhythms and that weird sort of blackened, disorienting Slint-esque mathrock dissonance that really gets them the Deathspell comparison. The songs are complex and intricate, made up of assorted passages of raging blackened thrash and passages of warped post-rock n' chiming melodies and waltzing, discordant doominess, and amazingly catchy melodic lines are strewn all across the songs, making this both as grim and fearsome as Deathspell while injecting the music with a unique melodic quality of their own. And like both Deathspell and Funeral Mist, Glorior Belli have given their album a MASSIVE recording that's way heavier and thicker sounding than most black metal albums, infusing their discordant satanic blasts with a crushing presence. I love this album! It's another essential disc for anyone into the super-raging blackness of Deathspell, Funeral Mist, Katharsis, and Watain!
Track Samples:
Sample : GLORIOR BELLI-Manifesting The Raging Beast
Sample : GLORIOR BELLI-Manifesting The Raging Beast
Sample : GLORIOR BELLI-Manifesting The Raging Beast



GORGON   The Lady Rides A Black Horse   CD   (Todestrieb)    11.98



They might not be well known outside of France, but Gorgon were one of the earliest French black metal bands, formed back in 1991 by bandleader and guitarist Christophe Chatelet. Usually when I think of older French black metal, it's the LLN and associated weirdoes that spring to mind, but Gorgon was a couple of years ahead of all of that. For the first few years that they were active, Gorgon only released a handful of demo cassettes, and it wasn't until 1995 that they finally got around to recording and releasing their first album on the Dungeon Records label. The Lady Rides A Black Horse has a very different sound from a lot of the black metal that France was producing back then, with an old-school thrashing black attack influenced by Venom and second wave black metal bands like early Mayhem and Osmose acts Samael and Impaled Nazarene. And it's maniacal sounding stuff, with ferocious blackened thrash riffs and awesome shrieking Burzumic vokills, classic heavy metal gallop infused into the darkness along with murky horror movie soundtrack synthesizers, doom-laden gothic passages, droning dark ambience, and eerie whispered vocals that appear throughout the album. Lots of mid-tempo rocking, too, like on the raging "As A Stone", one of the most rocking and anthemic songs on the album. It was on the excellent blog Cosmic Hearse where I first discovered Gorgon's satanic delirium aboiut a year ago, but since then the UK black metal label Todestrieb has stepped up and re-issued Gorgon's eleven song debut along with two previously unreleased tracks from 1994, and Gorgon's three-song Immortal Horde 7" from 1993, and includes a newly designed booklet filled with images of shirtless young French men splattered in gore, a mascara-smeared young lady wielding a sword, and the complete album lyrics.
Track Samples:
Sample : GORGON-The Lady Rides A Black Horse
Sample : GORGON-The Lady Rides A Black Horse
Sample : GORGON-The Lady Rides A Black Horse



HEADS OF PAGAN   Under The Tall And Darkened Arches   3" CD   (Faunasabbatha)    9.98

Under The Tall And Darkened Arches IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

One of the three new limited editioon CD-Rs that we just got in from Faunasabbatha, the awesome and criminimally limited-edition new sublabel of Rural Faune. Rural Faune is itself an amazing little CD-R label based outta France and which is run by our pal Bruno, who shares my adoration of handmade short-run releases for especially noisy drone bands and abstract psychedelia, and his discs from Robedoor and Wolfskull were big faves of mine last year; but as heavy as some of that stuff on Rural Faune was (and is), Bruno decided to start up this new imprint that focuses exclusively on "doom and black metal". Of course, Bruno's idea of what constitutes doom and black metal is kind of warped, and so we get these amazing discs of WTF heaviness that I guess you could call doom or black metal but which actually exist in their own fucked up, bedroom-crafted outsider metal soundworld: tortured abstract deathdoom haunted by the voices of spirits trapped inside a crumbling sanitorium...blackened guitarnoisescapes....doomed funereal piano pieces...and improvised power sludge. Kind of in the same headspace as Campbell Kneale's Battlecruiser imprint. Obviously this is right up my alley, and I'm hoping that we'll be seeing ALOT more from Faunasabbatha in the near future.
Heads Of Pagan are another French duo, using voice, effects, and guitar to construct the 21 minute deathscape "Under The Tall And Darkened Arches", and this is one nasty skullgrind; the piece starts off as a simple ominous riff that drifts over a rhythmic background loop that sounds like a heavily reverb'd guitar being scraped and pounded, with sparse clean guitar notes and haunting little half-melodies being plucked and layered over top. As the track progresses though, it becomes more and more chaotic as distorted feedback and rumbling guitar noise builds into a heavy free-drone, flanging and other FX appearing in the dense murk of layered guitars, and finally turning into this massive undulating industrial sludgedrone, like one of Total's amp-shattering feedback/noise jams colliding with Wolf Eyes in a satanic industrial ritual. Seriosuly heavy rhythmic psych-filth. The 3" CD-R was released in another micro -pressing of 66 copies, and is already sold out from the label - we've got a mere half-dozen copies, and once they're gone, that's it. Packaged in a 3" sleeve with murky skull-encrusted artwork.


HELEL   The French Industrial Cursed Tape [Unreleased demos from 2006 to 2008]   CASSETTE   (Necrocosm)    7.99



     Made up of members of Temple of Baal and Arvakh, the French industrial black metal outfit Helel has been kicking out some hideous mechanized evil since 2009, though with only one album out on Debemur Morti to date. With this new cassette-only release out on French label Necrocosm, we get the demo recordings that led up to that album, though it appears that all of the material on this tape is exclusive to this release. If you're a fan of French black metal, these guys hit upon a familiar sound, employing evil dissonances and an arrogant, misanthropic vibe, with tough, martial percussion trading off against vicious mechanized blastbeats.
     But as Helel cranks up their blackened warmachine, some interesting nuances start to reveal themselves; as first song "Une Nouvelle Garde" is unleashed, the band demonstrates their sickening power by fusing swarming, dissonant guitars and icy tremolo riffs with smears of cold electronic drone and that furious jackhammer drumming, with a nasty discordant edge becoming more apparent as the song unfolds. On the surface it's carved out of similar stuff as classic necro-mech outfits like Aborym and Mysticum, but Helel give it their own touch by injecting a hefty amount of sideways riffing and extreme atonality that at times recalls fellow Frenchmen Deathspell Omega, while at others offering something much more wretched and cacophonic. They'll also slip out of that pummeling industrial black metal into a weird slow dirge that'll start off like a dopesick Minstry, but then heaves forward into a crushing bulldozer groove, or grind through a vicious Voivodian riff as the drums lock into another one of their stuttering percussive spasms. The album is laced with weird musical samples and loops, bursts of imaginative studio fuckery, bits of creepy piano music, deranged circus organs and orchestral string sections looming put of the violent chaos, glitched-out electronic noise giving way to monstrous tectonic drones, screaming guitar-hero solos soaring over the blackened rumble, and moments where the music will suddenly drop into an intense blast of speaker-rattling churn that sounds more like some ultra low-fi noise rock outfit. Helel's frontman does his part, with a fucked-up performance that sounds like he's totally plastered, his voice shifting from a demented, drooling croak into a legion of sputtering, mewling shrieks, and that unhinged delivery can make parts of this demo sound pretty goddamn insane. Literally insane. There's a woozy, inebriated feel to this stuff, an unhealthy, reprobate quality reminiscent of label mates Diapsiquir. For the most part, Cursed doesn't go too far afield of the classic industrial black metal aesthetic and delivers much of what you expect from this sort of stuff, but the band's depraved vibe and experimental tendencies drag this into harsher, stranger territory.
     Limited to two hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : HELEL-The French Industrial Cursed Tape [Unreleased demos from 2006 to 2008]
Sample : HELEL-The French Industrial Cursed Tape [Unreleased demos from 2006 to 2008]
Sample : HELEL-The French Industrial Cursed Tape [Unreleased demos from 2006 to 2008]



MALHKEBRE   Prostration   CD   (Ahdistuksen Aihio Productions)    11.98











Track Samples:
Sample : MALHKEBRE-Prostration
Sample : MALHKEBRE-Prostration
Sample : MALHKEBRE-Prostration



MALVEILLANCE   L'appel du Neant / Le Froid du Nord   CD   (New Scream Industry)    11.98

L'appel du Neant / Le Froid du Nord IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Let's take a look at this new disc that comes to us from the Quebec black metal underground. The cover shows a sepia-toned photograph of a bottle of pills spilling onto the floor. The booklet has more images of pills, held in an outstretched hand, and a huge menacing looking dagger. All look negative enough, but then you flip the case over and yer staring at a photograph of the creep behind Malveillance, standing in front of his bedroom mirror, arm outstretched as he snaps a shot of himself standing there in his pink jockeys like he just climbed out of bed. What could this sound like?
Brutal, minimalistic, skullshredding noisecrust. Vicious, uber-atavistic blackened scumpunk, along the lines of Bone Awl, Akitsa, Wold, Absurd and Ildjarn - that's what you get on L'appel du Neant / Le Froid du Nord, a collection of Malveillance's out-of-print cassettes: Le Froid du Nord from 2005, and 2006's L'appel du Neant, both of which were released on Harsh Brutal Cold Productions. Malveillance put their own spin on that kind of blown out crusty savagery though, even more punk rock and thrashing, simplistic mono-riffing blasted over and over again, slathered in filth and distortion, pounded through trance inducing repetition over pummeling D-beat, Discharge-style drums, the vocals a feral screech. The recording for these cassettes is low-fi and raw, but thick and gnarly and super aggro. Like how Akitsa are like some blasted, blackened version of Oi!, Maleveillance are their crusty hardcore punk cousins, fierce and fucked up. The weirdest thing about this album is the whopping eight Ramones covers that are on here, and one cover of "You're Tripping" by pop punk mainstays The Queers! That might sound counterintuitive, but Malveillance takes these pop punk songs and makes them their own, taking songs like "The KKK Took My Baby Away" and "Commando" and "I Don't Want To Be Learned" and douse 'em in distortion and speed and venom, turning them into thrashing, evil blasts of super catchy necropunk. Even the Queers song sounds totally insane filtered through Malveillance's filth. Awesome. I can't get enough of Malveillance and his blackened trance punk.
Track Samples:
Sample : MALVEILLANCE-L'appel du Neant / Le Froid du Nord
Sample : MALVEILLANCE-L'appel du Neant / Le Froid du Nord
Sample : MALVEILLANCE-L'appel du Neant / Le Froid du Nord
Sample : MALVEILLANCE-L'appel du Neant / Le Froid du Nord



MALVEILLANCE   Just Fuck Off   CD   (Suffering Jesus)    10.98



I fucking love black metal in all of its different forms, from ultra-abstract weirdness to hyperspeed blackened violence and proggy, super complex black metal, but as someone who grew up immersed in hardcore punk, one of my favorite sounds is that of punky, ravenous, ridiculously distorted black metal, bands like Bone Awl, Akitsa, newer Darkthrone, Ash Pool and the like. I can't get enough of this stuff, and Maleveillance from Montreal is one of the best.
The earlier Malveillance albums were more along the lines of melancholic black metal, but something happened between then and Just Fuck Off, the 2006 album from Malveillance. This is where the music changed completely into a stripped-down primitive blackcrust assault, all atavistic hardcore riffing and overdriven distortion, rampaging D-beat drums and scorched misanthropic screams. This album still fucking kills - 22 tracks of feral and fucked up thrashing blackened violence, ripping an unbelievable amount of power out of an economy of riffs, most songs using two tops, just hammering it out over hypnotic Discharge-filtered-through-Darkthrone thrash that lays wastes to everything. Awesome !!
Track Samples:
Sample : MALVEILLANCE-Just Fuck Off
Sample : MALVEILLANCE-Just Fuck Off
Sample : MALVEILLANCE-Just Fuck Off



MALVEILLANCE   Insignificance   CASSETTE   (Tour De Garde)    5.98



There are few bands that have been ripped off as blatantly and as frequently as the mighty UK hardcore troop Discharge, whose early 80's albums basically gave birth to an entire subgenre of punk/metal. You could turn over a rock in just about any city and find at least half a dozen metal-studded bands that are copping Discharge's timeless two-chord riffs and that thunderous gallop known as the "D-beat". The "Dis" sound has been beaten pretty firmly into the ground over the past two decades, but lucklily every once in a while you'll come across a band that takes that sound and does something interesting with it. Like Malveillance, whose music is a nasty, charred-black crustcore rampage from a one-man Quebecois outfit that effectively combines crushing D-beat driven punk with the primitive, noise-pocked filth mantra of Bone Awl. This is a cassette version of Malveillance's Insignificance album, and from what I know, this is the only format that the album has been released in so far. Thirteen tracks of blackened, misanthropic, human hating crust, a scuzzfucked Discharge hardcore throb that reeks of sewage and gobs of "down with people" observations. Each one of these songs is a blast of stampeding D-beat drumming and minimalistic punk riffing, simple one-or-two chord thrash riffs hammered out over and over against the blasting drumming that bores full speed ahead, the howling hateful vocals and music equally drenched in feedback and fuzz and white noise. I immediately think of Bone Awl when listening to Malveillance, but Malveillance is more punk, more D-beat, more thrashing hardcore violence, taking a similiar route to punk-infected black metal aggression but leaning way more towards the crusty, hardcore part of that sound, kinda like Akitsa in a way, but nowhere near as catchy. But Malveillance also locks in on hypnotic, drool-inducing Stoogian repetition in the same way that Bone Awl does, and mixes the album up a little with a couple of tracks of harsh, swirling noise walls, which is something you probably wouldn't expect on a crustcore album. But theres a couple of 'em, brutal, dense tracks of wall noise, swirling maelstroms of distortion and white noise, in the vein The Rita, Cherry Point, etc. So where I might expect a band that is this influenced by Discharge-style hardcore punk to be generic and another D-beat knockoff, I'm actually assaulted by one hell of a ferocious blackened hypno crust attack that's one of the more ferocious bands I've heard so far from the Tour De Garde, Montreal-based black metal/blackened punk underground.


MELEK-THA + DAPNOM   Omnium Finis Imminen   2 x CD   (Fire Of Fire)    11.99



Like the Nadja double CD we have listed in this week's new arrivals list, Omnium Finis Imminent is another double disc set that has been designed to have both discs played at the same time on different sound systems in order to create a layered quadrophonic listening experience. I was stoked when I heard that Melek-Tha and Dapnom had teamed up to do a release like this, as I've been a fan of both artists for awhile. It took awhile to get the time to do it, but I finally pulled my copy of Omnium out a few hours ago and sat in near-darkness here in my office with both discs synced up and spinning. And let me tell you, it's some pretty creepy shit. Both artists are from France and have ties to the French black metal scene, and the satanic influence of French BM fully permeates the dark industrial ambience of both Melek-Tha and Dapnom. Spun seperately, each disc has a similar sound, deep subterranean drones and ghostly ambience swirled with unsettling spoken word pieces, pounding tribal percussion, swells of distorted low-end, with Melek-Tha coming from a slightly more industrial angle (this is "Supreme Apocalyptik Dark Ritual", after all) while Dapnom (the primary project from the mysterious Meldhkwis, who we have covered here at C-Blast before with his other black-ambient project Aymrev Erkroz Prevre) extrapolates upon both the melted satanic ambience of Moevot and the pure isolationist terror of Lustmord. When played simultaneously on two different sound systems though, this is a breathtaking tumble straight into the pit, with the buzzing of locusts surrounding the echoing pound of ritual drums, hallucinatory electronics intermingling with the horrified whispers of the dead, nocturnal ambience slowly becoming consumed with swells of symphonic strings, each track wall of slowly building sound, a nightmarish vision of hell that threatens to consume the listener. This dual disc performance is extremely impressive, and enthusiasts of black industrial/dark ambience/goat-worshipping grimness should check this out. Limited to 500 copies, and released by Fire Of Fire, a sub-label of black metal powerhouse Ajna Offensive.
Track Samples:
Sample : MELEK-THA + DAPNOM-Omnium Finis Imminen



MOURNING DAWN   For The Fallen   CD   (Total Rust)    11.98



The self-titled debut from these Parisian sourpusses wasn't what I was expecting at first when that album had come in; I'd just started carrying the Total Rust label and thought that the label specialized in straightforward extreme doom, but here was this album of tortured, depressive doominess that sounded more like a cross between the surreal suicidal dread of Silencer and Xasthur, and the atmospheric downer doom of Deinonychus and early Katatonia, and it ruled. Mourning Dawn became one of my favorite bands on the label, actually. Now we've got the second full length from 'em, the eight song For The Fallen, and not a whole lot has changed, musically. The music is still an incredibly bleak and sorrowful brand of doomy black metal, with layered tremolo riffs and slow, languid melodies drowned in sadness strewn across the mostly loping mid-tempo dirges that only occasionally lurch into faster blastbeat-ridden sections or stretches of hopeless glacial doom. The songs are fronted by a mix of deep death metal grunting and higher register shrieks that almost reach the piercing heights of Silencer or Bethlehem (this is just one of several albums that came in this week that have that weird, impossibly anguished and high-pitched black shriek, for some reason). A kindred soul makes a guest appearance on the track "The Rivers Flow", which has Jonathan Théry (Funeralium/Bethlehem/Ataraxie) contributing his damned howl to the song's blackened funeral crawl, and "Dead Youth" stands out with it's apocalyptic, war-themed imagery and complex riff arrangements that are shaded by solemn liturgical choirs. Bethlehem, Nortt and Deinonychus fans will have another album to listen to while contemplating the futility of living, but anyone into depressive doom and melancholy black metal should give this (and their first album) a listen, too.
Track Samples:
Sample : MOURNING DAWN-For The Fallen
Sample : MOURNING DAWN-For The Fallen
Sample : MOURNING DAWN-For The Fallen



MUTIILATION   Live In Germendorf, Germany   DVD-R   (Pagan Flames Productions)    11.00

Live In Germendorf, Germany IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

One of the infamous members of the French Black Legions in the early 90's along with bands like Belketre, Vlad Tepes, Mogoutre, Brenoritvrezorkre, Torgeist, Dvnaèbkre and Moëvöt, and responsible for one of the LLN's most outrageously fucked sounding demos, Vampires Of Black Imperial Blood , Mutiilation, like so many of the bands that were affiliated with this weird little scene of satanic French teenagers, has been surrounded by various rumors and speculation throughout their existence. They managed to be the only band from this sect to stick around beyond the 90's, too, but albums have been few and far between, and unfortunately their more recent work hasn't quite captured the same delirious weirdness and extremity of their earlier, skuzzier stuff. Since the band is so under-documented, I jumped at the chance to get a handful of copies of this ultra-low-budget dvd of a live Mutiilation show from 2001; the quality turned out to be about the level of low-fi public access quality footage I had been expecting, but what are you going to do? I don't think that we can look forward to Mutiilation hitting these shores at any point.
This amateur dvd is a grotty, shot-on-video performance from Mutiilation that was filmed during the Under the Black Sun Festival in 2001 in the German countryside outside of Germendorf, and captures the band on stage in the middle of a field in full daylight as a rather confused audience mills around aimlessly during their half-hour set. The band puts on a demented performance in front of the crowd, and despite the aged quality of the video (which doesn't seem to have benefited from any kind of digital remastering or cleanup), it's definitely an entertaining (if inadvertently humorous) document of these French black metallers unleashing their sloppy, ultra-raw corpse-painted LLN insanity beneath the soft glow of the late afternoon sun. There are a couple of different camera angles used so it's not just a boring static shot, and while the audio has the occasional dropout, it's perfectly listenable. Comes in a plastic dvd case.


MYSTIC FOREST   Green Hell   CD   (Chanteloup)    13.98

Green Hell IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Mystic Forest is the other project of Eikenskaden founder S. Kozak. This CD opens with sounds of birds and the forest and a burbling brook, then quickly erupts into an ear-shredding squall of paper-thin distortion, super catchy Baroque melodies, and a guitar sound that's an overdriven, trebly shred assault that would peel flesh if it wasn't delivering those catchy riffs! Yep, Mystic Forest delivers hooks galore, baroque / classical -inspired pop melodies that are buried beneath that nasty distortion and spastic blastbeats and epic mid-tempo rock parts, with vocals that are just as distorted and freaked out as the guitar sound, if not more so...piercing demonic shrieks and gasps that melt into the fuzzblast while those incredible melodies soar above the static. Add some pretty instrumentals, sounds of rain and forests and waves, and what sounds like a harpsichord...all buried beneath that incredible fuzz attack. Check out the other Mystic Forest titles we have in stock for more excellent French black metal weirdness.


MYSTIC FOREST   Welcome Back In The Forest   CD   (Oaken Shield)    13.98

Welcome Back In The Forest IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

We absolutely LOVED Mystic Forest's Green Hell, a blasting amalgam of twisted French black metal, blazing neo-classical fretwork, and unbelievable melodies that were stuck in our heads for days.Well, we've got this follow up disc from Mystic Forest, and it rules. Less soaked in white-noise fuzz than Green Hell (which we also carry), and boasting fuller production than previous work, this is still very twisted, very haunting, and ULTRA catchy...which is why we love this French one-man export (Stefan Kozak plays everything in Mystic Forest, and is only augmented by some additional female vocals on this album)! Rooted in grim, fuzzed out Burzum-esque black metal, Mystic Forest also adds soaring darkpop melodies, weird stuttering rhythms and vicious blastbeats, odd jazzy riffs and breaks mixed with absolutely gorgeous, heartbreaking female vocals from Julie Idesheim -think romantic, sad French music played in some smoky lounge in Paris, but buried beneath necro black metal buzz and blastbeats and lightspeed Yngwie-style neo-classical/sad-pop guitar shred ! And the classical element is taken to ridiculous extremes with renditions/interpretations of Chopin and Beethoven!


NEO INFERNO 262   Hacking The Holy Code   CD   (Necrocosm)    12.98



With a lineup that boasts members of some of the French black metal undergrounds fiercest proponents (including Antaeus, Corpus Christii, Hell Militia, Secrets of the Moon and Arkhon Infaustus), you'd naturally expect Neo Inferno 262 to deliver some extremely warped and dissonant evil; you would, however, probably not expect this to be so imminently danceable. These violent French demonravers deliver an ultra-complex form of industrial breakbeat/junglist black metal insanity on their debut Hacking The Holy Code, imperial black metal fused with breakcore, techno, gabber, classic drum n' bass, the hash vokills and crushing magisterial riffs woven together into an intricately assembled tapestry of industrial blast metal. This sort of black metal/electronica/techno experimentation has been going on for years, and Neo Inferno 262 is directly related to the similarly cyber-necro violence of Aborym, Void, Mysticum, Alien Deviant Circus, Dødheimsgard and Axis of Perdition, but few bands have put it all together as seamlessly and as ferociously as Neo Inferno 262. Malevolent, dissonant Deathspell-esque riffs ride on trance inducing waves of distorted jungle breaks; roaring, blackened raver synth lines overlay massive distorted basslines and hellish electronic sound collage; film samples (taken from Pi and Hellraiser among others) are intermingled with recorded newscasts from the Jonestown Massacre and abstract electronic textures; fearsome classical strings burst from panzer-strength apocalyptic speedcore and gabber onslaughts. Ecstatically vicious, there's an infernal logic at work behind the chaotic assembly of brooding Deathspell/Glorior Belli-style black metal and fractured gabber/electronica; sounds a LOT like the newer Dødheimsgard stuff but with a larger focus on extreme Bloody Fist style jungle/breakcore mayhem, and it's also comparable to the bizzaro French electro-BM delirium of Diapsiquir and Alien Deviant Circus. The visuals that accompany this blast of electronic black metal savagery are fucking amazing as well, the digipack and foldout booklet both featuring artwork that's inspired by 20th century Soviet communist proapganda poster art, which ties in to the strange totalitarian references encoded within this album...highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : NEO INFERNO 262-Hacking The Holy Code
Sample : NEO INFERNO 262-Hacking The Holy Code
Sample : NEO INFERNO 262-Hacking The Holy Code



NOX   Enigma   CASSETTE   (Frozen Wing Records)    7.00



The most mysterious of the Frozen Wing bands, the French group Nox is faceless, nameless, with almost no background information to be found anywhere, save for the limited text that they provide in each of their cassette releases, and the occult communications found within their eerie post-industrial hallucinations. Inside the sleeve for Enigma, the shadowy outfit delivers the following declaration, translated from the French :
"Nox encourages adultery. Nox encourages theft.Nox encourages lying. Nox encourages hatred. Nox encourages revenge. Nox encourages suicide."
It's the sort of manifesto you'd expect from a gang of snarling black metallers. But Nox is a far cry from black metal, despite their presence on Frozen Wing, a label that has carved out a nice little niche for itself as a source for the weirder underbelly of French black industrial/ambience. While there are some metallic elements that appear in Nox's music, this is more like a strange type of sinister baroque electronica, blending together Middle Eastern woodwind melodies, shuffling Tribal house rhythms, gothic strings and piano, choral voices, dark ambience, surges of droning, sludgy metallic guitar, booming blown-out drums, wobbly post-punk bass lines, and essentially no vocals aside from the wordless chanting and choir vocals that show up here and there. Both Muslimgauze and Coil are obvious influences on Nox's music, but so too is the weirder fringe of black industrial, apparent in the chugging metallic muck, martial percussion and horror-soundtrack loops and piano of "J'entends La Voie". Strange stuff, with cryptic track titles, even more cryptic text inside the sleeve (what does S.V.L.S.O. mean?), and the b-side of the cassette left completely blank. This was just one of two cassettes that Nox released in 2009 (the other being Thul Okgha , also featured in this week's new arrivals list), and after these tapes came out the mysterious French group has never been heard from since...


NUIT NOIRE   Infantile Espieglery   CD   (Todestrieb)    11.98

Infantile Espieglery IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

I had been hearing about this weird French band for awhile, but nothing prepared me for how terminally weird and catchy this is. A duo of just drums and guitar, playing something that you could sort of call "black metal" but it's not really black metal, even though there are blastbeats galore. The band themselves call it "fäerical blasting punk", and the easiest way to describe Nuit Noire's music is a really low-fi cross between primitive back metal, Rudimentary Peni, with impossibly catchy melodies and a singer named Tenebras who puts out a pouty androgynous yell. Most of the songs on Infantile Espieglery deal with Nuit Noire's obsession with faeries and the faerie world, weird whimsical stuff that gives their music a spectral vibe. Did I say how catchy these songs are? I've been humming "Join Me In The Night" all week. Bizarre, wonderous blastpunk, thrashy and raging, filled to the brim with awesome melodic hooks and blinding fast blastbeats, those awesome whiny vocals that fit so well, bratty vocals from a girl named Emilie that give the songs that she sings on an old school peace punk feel. Definitely a new favorite around here.


NUIT NOIRE   Fantomatic Plentitude   CD   (Armageddon)    11.98



More 'faerical blasting punk' from the woodlands of France...
Here's another somewhat rare 7" find that I dug up when I went hunting for everything that the cult French band Nuit Noire still had in print, a 2005 Ep that features five songs of their cavernous low-fi punk. I've been getting really obsessed with this band's music lately, as it has that primitive, death rock influenced sound that I've turned into a total junkie for, but mixes it in with some aggressive black metal elements and delivers it in a naive, childlike manner (with lots of references to forests and nighttime and waking dreams) that sounds like nothing else. Imagine a cross between Rudimentary Peni, Christian Death and some of that sloppy Les Legions Noires style black metal, combine it with a playful, wide-eyed sense of nocturnal wonder and proud romantic streak running through it, and you'll have an idea of what Nuit Noire are doing. One of the few albums still in print from this band, Fantomatic Plentitude is half studio stuff, half live recording, and it's all pretty killer. Opening with the stirring cry-for-night "Les Fées Volent Dans La Nuit", Fantomatic Plentitude reveals itself as definitely not quite punk, but definitely something other than black metal as well. The somewhat fey-sounding vocals of main member Tenebras are situated way up in the mix, and sound at times like a brattier Rozz Williams when he's not squawking like a maniac. The songs sre mostly mid-tempo rockers with the occasional black metal blast, but even then the guitars are playing a total death-rock style hook. Some of the other songs have somber, almost mournful folk-flecked melodies running through them, but the best stuff is the blackened buzzsaw gothpop of songs like "I Love You" and "Walk Away" and the blazing gothy hardcore of "Magical Blast". The live set at the end sounds pretty much the same as the studio material so it all flows together well, and the band's energy is wild, sounding even heavier and more frenzied here. All of this stuff is insanely catchy and eerie-sounding and very, very French in execution, and makes for one of the quirkiest bands I've ever heard come out of the French black metal scene. Recommended!
Track Samples:
Sample : NUIT NOIRE-Fantomatic Plentitude
Sample : NUIT NOIRE-Fantomatic Plentitude
Sample : NUIT NOIRE-Fantomatic Plentitude
Sample : NUIT NOIRE-Fantomatic Plentitude
Sample : NUIT NOIRE-Fantomatic Plentitude



NUIT NOIRE   Furibond Elegance   7" VINYL   (Creations Of The Night)    6.98

Furibond Elegance IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

More 'faerical blasting punk' from the woodlands of France! Here's another somewhat rare 7" find that I dug up when I went hunting for everything that the cult French band Nuit Noire still had in print, a 2005 Ep that features five songs of their cavernous low-fi punk. I've been getting really obsessed with this band's music lately, as it has that primitive, death rock influenced sound that I've turned into a total junkie for, but mixes it in with some aggressive black metal elements and delivers it in a naive, childlike manner (with lots of references to forests and nighttime and waking dreams) that sounds like nothing else. Imagine a cross between Rudimentary Peni, Christian Death and some of that sloppy Les Legions Noires style black metal and you'll have an idea of what Nuit Noire sounds like.
On the Furibond Elegance 7", the band brings us the frantic blackened blastpunk of opener "Shooting Stars", with cavernous three chord riffs and thrashy drumming that can't help but trip over itself throughout the song, blasting off into super fast blast metal chaos for a moment before dropping back into a killer catchy hook at the end. That's followed by the title track, which combines more haunting, wistful melodies with rumbling double bass drumming and an air of nocturnal majesty amid the explosions of chaotic blastbeats and maniacal screaming.
Both of the songs that appear on the second side of this 7" are among Nuit Noire's catchiest; the first, "Moon", is a blasting blackened lunar anthem sounds like Rudimentary Peni gone pop-punk, and it's clawed its way into my head for at least the next day or so. The other is "Mystery II", an almost non-stop blastbeat driven delirium of strained howls and infectious reverb drenched punk riffs, thunderous double bass and gorgeous hooks that wouldn't have been out of place on a mid-80s post-punk single...
Comes in a xeroxed sleeve held inside of a white DJ-style jacket with the band name and title hand-written in black magic marker.


NUIT NOIRE / CALL ME LORETTA   split   7" VINYL   (Creations Of The Night)    6.98

split IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

More 'faerical blasting punk' from the woodlands of France! Here's another somewhat rare 7" find that I dug up when I went hunting for everything that the cult French band Nuit Noire still had in print, a 2005 Ep that features five songs of their cavernous low-fi punk. I've been getting really obsessed with this band's music lately, as it has that primitive, death rock influenced sound that I've turned into a total junkie for, but mixes it in with some aggressive black metal elements and delivers it in a naive, childlike manner (with lots of references to forests and nighttime and waking dreams) that sounds like nothing else. Imagine a cross between Rudimentary Peni, Christian Death and some of that sloppy Les Legions Noires style black metal and you'll have an idea of what Nuit Noire sounds like.
On this 2006 7", Nuit Noire teams up with the equally wistful sounding gloom pop of fellow French band Call Me Loretta. The two Nuit Noire songs that kick off the 7" are fuckin' great; both "In The Very Very Old Forest" and "Moonbath" have that unique NN sound where sloppy, frantic punk rock is combined with equally sloppy blastbeats and some supremely haunting reverb-soaked guitar riffs, with the first song in particular having that peculiar mix of early 80s anarcho punk abandon and low-fi black metal alienation. The faster hardcore parts that pop up are wonderfully messy and violent, while the blackened melodies swarm like a more drug-addled take on classic Scandinavian black metal. The second of Nuit Noire's delirious nighttime fantasies sounds more like a damaged death-punk jam, with the singer's fey wailing vocals reminding me of Rozz Williams quite a bit, paired up with a super catchy/poppy hook.
On the other side you get two songs from the Toulouse indie band Call Me Loretta, "Each Dawn I Die" and "Smart Heart", both delivered in a slightly off-key manner with gloomy plaintive verses with almost spoken lyrics contrasted with the slightly more intense choruses, a kind of maudlin jangly indie rock that sorta reminds me of both Slint and Pavement.
Limited to five hundred copies. Note that the entire pressing of this 7" has a printer error that jumbled the center labels for the two sides, but there's a note enclosed in the record that reminds you about this.


NUIT NOIRE / HIS ELECTRO BLUE VOICE   split   7" VINYL   (Avant!)    9.98



Had this in stock ages ago but it sold out almost immediately; if you missed out on this platter of odd Italian goth/punk/black metal weirdness, here's another shot...
Here's another Ep featuring Nuit Noire that follow up similar splits between this blackened French punk band and bands like Circle Of Ouroborus and Call Me Loretta, released on Italian label Avant!.
The two songs from Nuit Noire are "Opening The Portal" and "Fairie Punk", the first beginning with swarming, tinny, mosquito-buzz guitars soon joined by the simple, primitive drumming and bursts of sloppy blastbeats; when the song really gets going, it keeps those splattery drums and blastbeats alternating with the cavernous low-fi punk, the guitars spinning eerie trebly melodies that are quite catchy, the howling vocals way up in the mix, sounding like some weird mix of Les Legions Noire and Rudimentary Peni. The second song is more of a blasting anthemic ripper, with galloping drums driving the maudlin blackened melody till it turns into a killer gloom-rock hook at the middle of the off-kilter blackened punk, where Nuit Noir mastermind Tenebras really lets loose with his fey, sorta Rozz Williams-like wail. I love this stuff...
"Call" by His Electro Blue Voice compliments NN's side nicely with a new song of their own heavy, driving goth punk, a bass-heavy bit of gloom-ridden post-punk with a burly metallic edge to the guitars, deep vocals with a Brit accent, but then the second half of the song comes in, and it turns into a creepier, more lurching affair with gnarled rockabilly guitar lines, pounding drums and some cobwebbed organ drones all coming off like a warped, heavier take on The Cramps or Gun Club crossed with the obvious Joy Division influence. There's a definite gothy vibe in there but its accented with weird electronic noises and chugging metallic guitars. Pretty goddamn cool.
Limited to three hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : NUIT NOIRE / HIS ELECTRO BLUE VOICE-split
Sample : NUIT NOIRE / HIS ELECTRO BLUE VOICE-split
Sample : NUIT NOIRE / HIS ELECTRO BLUE VOICE-split



OBSCURUS ADVOCAM   Verbia Daemonicus   CD   (Battle Kommand)    11.98



Another killer blast of French black metal, this time courtesy of Battle Kommand, who are continuing to bring the goods with each new release in their catalog. Formed in 2003, Obscurus Advocam is made up of members of established black metal outfits Wolfe, Temple Of Baal, and Glorior Belli; Verbia Daemonicus is the band's debut full length, an intense, surreal vision of existentialist black metal poetry and armageddon visions given form through a dissonant, eerie mid-tempo BM assault that's inflected with the bent, otherworldly weirdness of fellow French acts Blut Aus Nord, Antaeus and Deathspell Omega. The album boasts a powerful, clear production, everything is full and thick and crushing, which serves the album well as the thing that really sets Verbia Daemonicus apart is the way that the band has incorporated bursts of loping, midtempo rock and searing emotional blues-based solos into their doomy, dissonant metal. Those bluesy, soaring guitar solos are freaking transcendent whenever they appear, a la Nachtmystium's Instinct:Decay, and it really makes Obscurus Advocam stand out from their French BM peers. Yeah, there are definitely lots of blazing blastbeats, charred thrash riffage, and torn-throat croaked vocals, as well as a couple of detours into Slint-y post rock that always seem to appear on French BM albums, and dark, droning bowed-metal ambient interludes, but man, the solos on this album just kill it. Another crucial, hallucinatory French BM experience, with awesome bio-horror themed album art from Aurelien Police.


OCCULT VOMIT   Anti Human Devotion   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    6.50



  So here we have yet another in a very long line of basement-bound bands that has been ejaculated from the cracked, horned skull of Frenchman Luc Mertz. Occult Vomit is his duo a guy named Lord Hatüm on vocals, while Mertz handles all of the instrumentation, just like he does with his "main" band Zarach'Baal'Tharagh. Also being a member, oftentimes the only member, of bands like black metal weirdoes Wolok, death industrial project Stigma Diabolicum, and Motorcharge puke-assault Skull Face, Mertz has made something of a name for himself by producing a seemingly unending torrent of demo-grade recordings that tend to generally focus on a signature brand of low-fi, sloppily-played necro-punk insanity, and that's pretty much exactly what you get with Occult Vomit. The Anti-Human Devotion tape is the only thing that this duo has barfed up so far aside from a split tape with Tank Genocide and Abject 666, and it's a continuation of the sort of demented no-fi black metal aesthetic that I've come to love from the French label Infernal Kommando. Beginning with the pounding of black magic drums and grumbling low-end sonic muck, the tape kicks into high gear with "Slaughtered in Darkness", a malevolently monotonous mush of Lord Hatüm's slit-throat screams, Mertz's primitive punky black thrash riffs, screaming guitar solos and pounding drums that are swept up in a filthy, blown-out roar of repetitive Venom-esque caveman thrash. The recording quality is right around that of an old 80's thrash demo, raw and ugly but with enough power to rumble your gut if you dial this in at the proper level of volume, and it's surprisingly a lot less murky than many of Mertz's other projects, which can often end up sounding like borderline black noise. Also of interest is the deranged, almost southern rock-style influence that starts to seethe within a few of these tracks, bits of wailing 70's hard rock guitar soloing slashing through a couple of these mangled anthems. I'm slightly reminded of bands like Tjolgtjar and Blood Cult when those screaming, masturbatory solos start to splatter across one of the band's repetitious riff-workouts, the duo pounding away at some simple, crushing riff with an obsessive fury a la early Ildjarn, turning this into some sort of snarling, rabid acid-gobbling blackthrash on songs like "Vomit on Heaven", "Ravaged by Venom", and "Hellish Violence". The whole snarling necro-trance finally finishes with a stomping, catchy crusher called "Raping Christian Blood" that ends up drifting out into a final short outro of whirring electronic noise. Half an hour of acid-dosed mutant black n' roll rawness that, naturally, fans of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh will want to pump into their black, withered veins, prontissimo.
   Limited to one hundred copies.


PAVILLON ROUGE   Solmeth Pervitine   CD   (Post Apocalyptic Music)    11.98



The first album from French electronic black metallers Pavillon Rouge, Solmeth Pervitine almost comes across as a hardcore techno/industrial album first, with the black metal aspect bleeding through from below. So right off the bat a lot of black metal fans are going to spurn this band because of the dreaded "t" word, but for those of you who dig the decadent electronic-infested violence of such bands as Aborym, Mysticum, Blacklodge, latter-day Dodheimsgard, Alien Deviant Circus, Diapsiquir and the like, this is a ferocious album seething with hypnotic, pounding rhythms, mangled electronic noises, feral black metal riffs and a subtle but noticeable darkwave influence.
Opener "Solmeth Ascension" injects the droning minimal buzzsaw-crush of second wave black metal into a blasting backdrop of hardcore techno, the glitched, skittering rhythms draped with icy riffs and layered screams, adding in a bit of that baroque, carnivalesque melody that you often hear in certain French black metal circles. Tracks like "Sept Siècles Et Le Feu" bring more violent menace to the sound, with traces of distorted rave synth and Goblin-like soundtrack elements blending with the blasting black techno metal, even as it delivers one of the catchiest and most anthemic hooks/choruses on the album. Same goes for "Sadist Sagitarius" (which is actually a cover of the American deathrock band Cinema Strange) and "Jad XTC", both extremely catchy techno-BM anthems with these monster choruses that'll rattle around in your head for awhile. There's a lot of infectious hooks like these on Solmeth Pervitine, more than most bands in this style, and the black metal side of their sound isn't half-baked at all, it's really well structured, with tight, ferocious riffing executed at a high level of aggression. Some of the other songs go in more of an industrial metal direction, "Exubérance/Exaltation" and "Le Cercle Du Silence" have more of a Wax Trax feel with their pounding machine-metal crunch and flourishes of darkwave influenced moodiness, while "Evangile Du Serpent" combines crushing blackened riffs with piano lines and bursts of frenetic drum n bass, one of the few points on the album where the band incorporates junglist moves. "Des Cimes, Des Abîmes" offers a surrealistic soundscape of abstract electronic noise, ancient phonograph records cut up into sorrowful requiems, and deep-space static, leading into the skull-pounding trance of "Le Grand Tout S'Effondre" at the end of the disc.
One of the better industrial/electro black metal albums I've been listening to lately (and I've been listening to this a lot), it's decadent, debauched, and oozing with cruelty, and especially recommended to Aborym fans...
Track Samples:
Sample : PAVILLON ROUGE-Solmeth Pervitine
Sample : PAVILLON ROUGE-Solmeth Pervitine
Sample : PAVILLON ROUGE-Solmeth Pervitine



PESTE NOIRE   L'Ordure À L'État Pur   CD   (La Mesnie Herlequin)    12.98

L'Ordure À L'État Pur IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

      At last back in stock, the fourth album from French black kommandos Peste Noire, released through Quebecois label Transcendental Creations. Following up their excellent Ballade Cuntre Lo Anemi Francor with an even more epic and intricate sound, L'Ordure à L'état Pur is as strange and eccentric as anything that we've ever heard from bandleader Famine and his crew of miscreants, continuing to pursue an idiosyncratic black metal assault that blends their French Nationalist leanings and misanthropic vision with a sonic stew that often borders on the absurd. As with Peste Noir's previous output, the band's sound at it's core is based around an oddly janky guitar tone, loose-limbed drumming and screeching vocals that all produce a brand of punk-damaged black metal, and even at their most epic, the band seethes with a rawness that offsets their more offbeat tendencies. Of which there are many.
      And what a grand opening. "Casse, Pêches, Fractures Et Traditions" rises up in a din of howling wolves and folk-flecked guitar, with other distorted guitars playing a mournful chanson-like melody, dark sounds swirling all around as the song looms into view, a kind of blackened French folkiness materializing out of the night, turning to loping lycanthropic majesty of the song proper as the main riff kicks in. It's brilliant stuff, a vicious mid-paced black metal riff ripping through the verse, but then everything suddenly giving way to traditional French folk music later on, accordions and trombones and cello and acoustic guitar all caught up in a maudlin melody. That unusual combination of blackened metal and French folk gets even more tangled as "Traditions" goes on, turning into a ridiculously catchy blast of weirdo aggression that's also peppered with all sorts of other quirky sounds, the crowing of a rooster, random street sounds, and other elements from Peste Noire's environment that all contributes to the narrative behind this album.
      As seemingly silly as some of this might appear on the surface, this music is really deadly serious. Other songs like "Sale Famine Von Valfoutre " and "Cochon Carotte Et Les Sœurs Crotte" are even more blistering in their blackened attack, dissonant riffs and eerie leads racing over ramshackle thrash beats and blasts, the latter almost taking on a bizarrely techno-like throb at times. And that electronic music influence gets really overt at times, shifting into a skittering quasi-breakbeat that appears beneath breathy, almost eroticized female voices, hysterical screams, blackened Darkthrone-esque riffing and weirdly funky bass guitar, with gorgeous horns appearing later over another throbbing blackened groove in a moment of utterly grim beauty. Elsewhere, frantic polka beats infest the epic metal, and the music bursts into frenzied speeds and anthemic hooks that feel more informed by old hardcore punk.
      And then there is the centerpiece of L'Ordure, the twenty-minute "J’avais Rêvé Du Nord" that at first combines the sound of a shotgun being cocked and fired with menacing industrial, that weapon becoming an almost percussive effect as the song spreads out into a Wax Trax-like industrial metal groove, the vocals taking on a gruff, almost hip-hop like flow, only for it to all bottom out into a beautiful, mournful folk song. Violins and cello drift in over this aching and romantic music, followed by beautiful female vocals and flamenco-style guitar, and it becomes the album's most striking passage. Which makes the ferocious black metal that explodes out of that feel all the more powerful. The rest of the song proceeds to blend these various sounds together into a masterwork of folk-tinged blackness, majestic classical metal fusing with snarling thrash and stirring melodies that border on a kind of darkened pop, those achingly familiar strains of folk music winding perfectly around the expressive bass guitar work, that haunting female vocalist trailing after the vicious blackened shrieks, all leading up to the point where the band suddenly coalesces around a monstrous charred groove towards the end, an off-kilter heaviness taking over as the song lurches to it's desperate, deranged conclusion.
      In the album's finale, the band slips into one last blackened lament with "La Condi Hu", bringing beautiful vocal harmonies to the song's mournful melody, all melancholy gloompop as the swarming tremolo riffing and scathing vocals surround this lush, lovely heaviness, chugging riffs and furious double bass underscoring the otherwise gorgeous, doleful hook, stretching out across the end of album with one of the band's "prettiest" passages.
      There have been plenty of bands who have played with the mixture of folk music and electronic dance music with black metal, but this sounds like none of that. L'Ordure à L'état Pur is singular in it's weirdness and experimentation, so unmistakably French and driven by its own bizarre genius that it truly exists in a weird zone all it's own. A middle finger to black metal purists, while at the same time espousing a purely misanthropic vision that would wither most newer "black metal" outfits. One of Peste Noir's finest moments.
Track Samples:
Sample : PESTE NOIRE-L'Ordure À L'État Pur
Sample : PESTE NOIRE-L'Ordure À L'État Pur
Sample : PESTE NOIRE-L'Ordure À L'État Pur



PESTE NOIRE   Folkfuck Folie   CD   (Transcendental Creations)    12.98

Folkfuck Folie IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

     Just got several older albums from these French "black metal hooligans" back in stock!
     The French underground has long been a breeding ground for some of the strangest and most otherworldly-sounding black metal, and the reclusive cult outfit Peste Noire remains one of France's most anomic, anti-social purveyors of blackened sonic weirdness. On their 2007 album Folkfuck Folie, the band's second full-length, Peste Noire offered their weirdest blast yet, eleven songs of mysterious folkiness and raw, chaotic black metal possessed with a brilliant way with melody, which made this often ear-bleeding abrasiveness often bizarrely catchy. The band was also talented at producing some supremely creepy abstract soundscapery as well; opening song "L'Envol Du Grabataire (Ode À Famine)" unfolds into an eerie buzz of doleful electric guitar and nocturnal murmurs, distant chittering sounds echoing ominously against a backdrop of starless night. As a kind of martial folk slowly enters, the band begins to mix in shredding blackened tremolo buzz with that folky strum, the thud of hide-wrapped drums booming in the distance, shrieking vocals piercing a mist like veil of murky distortion, all creating this hauntingly pretty yet quite abrasive atmosphere that sets the stage for Folkfuck's deranged atmosphere. And that kicks into high gear with the raging, demented black metal blast of "Chute Pour Une Culbute", a ferocious assault of roughshod black metal violence where woozy slide guitar-like sounds mingle with the jangling guitar chords and bursts of heroic guitar shred, the song's main hook almost sounding like something from some early 80's indie rock album, more Mascis than De Mysteriis at times, but still quite dark and aggressive, slipping into some killer thrashy rifffage later in the song.
     And as the album continues, the songs continue to move from that jangling, melodic black metal into further weirdness, "D'un Vilain" introduced by the sound of a shotgun being cocked and fired, the sound of which then proceeds to ring out percussively throughout the song's assault of blackened thrash; "Condamné À La Pondaison (Légende Funèbre)" suddenly swerves out of its strange mix of halting folky metal and cracked thrash into a middle passage of monstrous rumbling ambient muck, before eventually reemerging into another killer blackened melody on the other end. Again, the guitar playing is fucking amazing, using all kinds of unorthodox arrangements and playing styles to create this unusual, idiosyncratic black metal, with lots of weirdly mathy riffing and spiraling leads that hint at a mix of classical and even flamenco influences, but there's also lots of ferocious galloping riffs that are like some souped-up, demented version of classic NWOBHM. The bass playing also stands out, much busier and more expressive than what you usually hear in black metal without being overbearing or distracting. Other highlights include "Maleiçon", which starts off as a weird spoken word piece, a menacing narrative being spun in French while the baleful cry of wolves echoes in the distance, and tortured moans and murky ambience drifts deep in the mix, like some twisted Caedmon record, before suddenly erupting into regal black metal; and on "Extrait Radiophonique D'Antonin Artaud", the whole track is a surreal environmental recording of someone screaming shrilly while objects are slammed and shifted, a surreal, almost Nurse With Wound-esque piece of sound art. Still holds up these many years later as an amazing black metal album, and still one of my favorite things that this band has ever released - fans of Ghost Kommando will love this, as there's a shared ramshackle poppiness that both bands have. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : PESTE NOIRE-Folkfuck Folie
Sample : PESTE NOIRE-Folkfuck Folie
Sample : PESTE NOIRE-Folkfuck Folie



PESTE NOIRE   La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénérescence   CD   (Transcendental Creations)    12.98



     Just got several older albums from these French "black metal hooligans" back in stock!
     Finally stocking the early works of provocative French black metal outfit Peste Noire, whose mix of ultra-raw black metal aesthetics, French nationalism, folkloric themes, punk-damaged pop filth and a savagely contrarian "fuck you" attitude continues to make 'em one of the most interesting bands to come out of the French black metal underground. With Transcendental Creations' reissue of Peste Noire's debut album La Sanie Des Siècles, we're introduced to some of the Peste Noire's earliest recordings; originally released on French label De Profundis in 2006, this eight-song album delivered a uniquely demented and distinctly French take on black metal, opening with a short, strange waltz lashed with a wailing guitar solo, flecked with droning background organ and the cymbal-splattered mid-paced tempos of drummer Niege of Alcest/Amesoeurs fame, who briefly played with the band during this period. But from there, La Sanie unleashes a furious squall of violent, low-fi blackness, "Le Mort Joyeux" kicking in with rumbling double bass and killer mournful guitar melodies, slipping into a super-catchy thrashing hook and in and out of those raging blastbeats and shrieking violent black metal, into eerie folk-tinged slower passages that echo ancient Gallic melodies beneath the murk. Throughout all of this, you can hear just how skilled the musicians are, despite the raw, low-fi nature of the recording and the bizarre songwriting choices; the guitar playing is fucking killer, matching these ferocious, catchy riffs with shredding solos and emotional melodies that are really effective. The vocals are equally deranged, often multi-tracked into intensely harsh, frantic screams, a palpable anguish felt in the way that those screams rasp and crack over the band's music.
     Some of the best stuff here includes "Spleen", fusing a classic early black metal sound to an incredible hook, intensely catchy and colored by tastefully used acoustic guitars that bring more of that folky feel while also kicking into a terrifically infectious metallic riff, a fierce metallic chug fused to ominous, twisted poppiness. Elsewhere, they'll drape their ragged blackened anthems with droning pipe organ, or push that acoustic guitar way up front in the mix. Those idiosyncratic choices distinguish Peste Noire's music above so much other raw black metal; they can unleash the most malevolent of buzzing, swarming black metal hatefulness, then at the drop of a hat slip in a gorgeous classical guitar interlude or a flurry of flamenco-style notes or an infectious jangly melody , or drift into a brief but supremely creepy passages of blackened rumble and liturgical chanting, or the sound of French church choirs raising their voices in Hallelujah. The songs themselves are sprawling, multi-chambered things, sometimes stretching out for up to twelve minutes at a time as they wind through a multitude of different sections, with the madness of "Retour De Flamme (Hooligan Black Metal)" giving birth to a delirious epic of wailing female operatic vocals, bluesy slide guitar and classic metallic power, all within the first minute; once it gets going though, it transforms into one of the most powerful songs on the album, the almost jazz-informed bass guitar leading this through continuously changing blackened riffery and soaring leads. On "Dueil Angoisseus", the music begins with the soft sound of rainfall while a moody guitar instrumental slowly unfolds, but then this too blasts into another striking folky hook and driving, rocking anthemic black metal. And it closes with the trippy, terrifying "Des Médecins Malades Et Des Saints Séquestrés", starting off with another flurry of frenetic shred as each instrument enters one by one, then rumbles forth on top of a massive old-school metal attack, almost NWOBHM-esque as the song charges forward with a powerful mid-paced gallop and the sinister blackened riff takes hold, those ghostly pipe organs emerging with their mesmeric gothic warble, the song shaping into this killer menacing epic.
     These early Peste Noire works are still some of the most vicious and fascinating French black metal albums I've heard, super creative and unique while remaining thoroughly misanthropic in attitude, all recommended listening for enthusiasts of uncompromising black art. Includes an eight page booklet that includes an interview with the band, albeit en francais.
Track Samples:
Sample : PESTE NOIRE-La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénérescence
Sample : PESTE NOIRE-La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénérescence
Sample : PESTE NOIRE-La Sanie Des Siècles - Panégyrique De La Dégénérescence



PYRAMIDS   A Northern Meadow   CASSETTE   (Black Horizons)    8.98



      We now have the limited-edition cassette on Black Horizons available, with hand-assembled packaging involving full-color digital prints on pearl vellum and black linen covers, issued in a run of one hundred copies.
      Has it really been seven years since the last time we heard a full-length from Pyramids? Sure, this ever-morphing ensemble headed by visionary musician R. Loren has continued to put out a steady stream of splits and collaborations with the likes of Nadja, Wraiths, Mamiffer and Horseback in the years since their stunning self-titled debut came out on Hydra Head, but A Northern Meadow is in fact the first stand-alone full length Pyramids release since 2008. And it's amazing. I loved the debut, which blew me away when it came out, a mysterious and multi-faceted blast of soaring melody and alien textures, gorgeously arranged vocal melodies and waves of crushing guitar that fell somewhere in between prog rock, black metal and the heaviest strains of dreampop, but which ultimately sounded totally unique. And their various splits and collabs have been fantastic as well, some of it reaching even higher levels of otherworldly beauty and deeper realms of darkened, crushing heaviness. But on the band's latest, Pyramids delivers what may be their most focused and seamless work, resulting in one of the best dark prog albums that's come out so far this year.
      It's also some of the most gorgeous stuff that Pyramids has done. When that first song kicks in with its mix of keening Thom Yorke-esque crooning, blackened tremolo riffing and tricked-out prog rock arrangements, I'm in heaven. The music is a perfect balance of violent energy and complex beauty, opening with a stunning blast of intricate, almost shoegazey sound that obliterates the boundaries of genre. And as Meadow unfolds, that sound grows more malevolent, finding its way from the complex beauty and power of "In Perfect Stillness, I’ve Only Found Sorrow" to the seething black metal-isms of "The Substance Of Grief Is Not Imaginary", a song that resembles a strangely pretty version of Blut Aus Nord's convoluted, avant-garde black metal. Which makes sense, seeing as how Loren and his band mates are joined by Blut Aus Nord's Vindsval for much of the album. He's part of an impressive guest roster on the album, joined by experimental electronic artist William Fowler Collins and Colin Marston from Gorguts / Behold The Arctopus / Krallice. This formidable crew sculpts the album into a kind of dark, pop-flecked prog rock, and as it continues, that sound is further fleshed out with heavier undercurrents and lush electronic backdrops. The black metal elements recur throughout the songs, but frequently untangle themselves from the contorted riffage and blast beats and soaring vocals to coalesce into the most heart-rending of melodic hooks. It often spills out into sprawls of immersive synthesizer and lush ambient textures, bits of industrial abrasion seeping into the drumming and electronics, the songs woven from complex rhythmic interplay and layered melodies that continue to surprise and stir the soul with each revisit. "My Father, Tall As Goliath" is dark prog-pop sorcery, while "Indigo Birds" disappears into a breathtaking kosmische middle that channels the most epic of 70's space music, before swarming back into more of that labyrinthine riffery. The heavier-than-thou may scoff at the gorgeous singing that sits at the forefront of these songs, but this is still heavy, heavy stuff, much of it amongst the heaviest Pyramids music I've heard so far.
      Stunning stuff. There's a similar enigmatic art-rock vibe as stuff like Time Of Orchids and Kayo Dot, but the metallic elements are much more prominent, specifically the black metal influences that inflame Meadow's more furious moments. If you're a fan of the previous Pyramids output, I can't imagine that you won't flip over this. It's a Pretty confident saying it's the strongest music the band has brought us yet. Highly recommended.
Track Samples:
Sample : PYRAMIDS-A Northern Meadow
Sample : PYRAMIDS-A Northern Meadow
Sample : PYRAMIDS-A Northern Meadow



REVERENCE   The Asthenic Ascension   CD   (Candlelight)    12.98



Haven't heard anything from this industrial-tinged French black metal band since the Dissociated Human Junction compilation that Reverence appeared on alongside Bloodoline, Blut Aus Nord and Karras, but it's still the same cold, technological feel that I got off of that release. Following up albums on Osmose and Avantgarde Music, The Asthenic Ascension is a series of musings on existence, death and Lucifer's fall from grace set to a ferocious mechanical black metal assault. The album opens with the swelling symphonic strings of "Earth", a darkly gorgeous composition that reminds me of James Horner's most dread-filled moments; this leads into the chugging, icy black metal that makes up the bulk of the song, a stirring mix of orchestral darkness and soaring clean vocals, stringed instruments playing behind the slippery, almost jazzy bass and sweeping blackened melodies, a modernist black metal sound enhanced by the use of those strings and the electronic textures and choral voices that emerge towards the end of the song. But then the next one lurches into something much more mutated, "Darwin's Black Hall" uncoiling its weird dissonant chords and inverted riffs over the mechanical blastbeats and slower, doomed passages of diseased sloth and percussive stop/start riffing, definitely tapping into the sort of atonal, industrial-tinged black metal that fellow Frenchmen Blut Aus Nord are known for. The rest of Asthenic sticks with this more warped and atonal style, while also adding in interesting textural flourishes like the bluesy prog rock solos and huge choruses that pop up amid the ominous black metal blasts, bursts of militant mechanized thrash, and lots of swirling, creepy electronic textures that all contribute to Reverence's particular sound. The vocals shift between harsh shrieks and a kind of crooning chant that reminds me of both Mike Patton and Borknargr's Andreas Hedlund, and fit with the proggy feel that appears when Reverence move into the rocking grooves of "Psalm IV" and the awesome stuttering industro-thrash on "Cold Room", with the eerie neo-classical beauty of "Genesis of Everything" and droning savagery of "Those who Believed" taking the album into more atmospheric directions. The disc closes with the nine minute title track, a whirling black cloud of reverb-heavy aural drift and metallic drones that eventually births a lumbering, withered black dirge, all sharp edges and dissonant Voivodian chords. While that Blut Aus Nord influence does appear throughout this album, these guys manage to carve out their own brand of elegant, industrialized blackness worthy of investigation if you're into that distinct French black metal sound.
Track Samples:
Sample : REVERENCE-The Asthenic Ascension
Sample : REVERENCE-The Asthenic Ascension
Sample : REVERENCE-The Asthenic Ascension



SADASTOR   Herald Of Confusion   CDR   (Faunasabbatha)    11.98



     This was, without a doubt, one of the most difficult releases we've ever endeavored to get in stock. First released on cassette in 1998 and later reissued as a limited-edition CDR from Faunasabbatha in a tiny edition of ninety-three copies, this little slab of outsider black metal brilliance literally took years to reach us; they finally did, though, and we've got what appear to be the final copies of this amazing little disc from the strange two-man French black metal outfit Sadastor, a stamped, silver CDR housed in a simple plastic sleeve inside of a zine-style booklet filled with lyrics and artwork, everything bound together in twine and lust, magic and dreams.
     Little is known about this short-lived, extremely obscure band. Herald appears to be the only thing the band ever released. Their music is inarguably black metal, a shrill, fuzz-blasted rawness at the center of Sadastor's sound, but they surround that tinny, trebly abrasiveness with some surprisingly gorgeous melodies and lots of eerie, folk-flecked atmosphere, which cumulatively turn this into something rather odd and unique. Take opener "Scarlet Bath", for instance: from a brief intro of atmospheric wilderness sounds, a severely distorted black metal riff emerges, the high end gain cranked to the max as this eerie minor key melody races above the pattering rhythm of what's presumably a drum machine; it's buried so deep in the mix it's hard to tell though, reduced to a kind of bleary, hyperfast blur. And that achingly pretty melody gradually evolves into something even more poignant and beautiful, particularly when the song suddenly swerves into brief passages of maudlin piano, and when minimal synth notes begin to fall like motes of dust across this smeared superfast black metal lament.
     Sadastor's music also incorporates some great evil-sounding dissonance and warped riffs that contrast with the heart-wrenching melodies, as well as passage of haunted-house ambience and fragments of funereal piano, bits of weird funhouse synth, distant booming war drums, gloomy church organ and bleary droning keys. But those doleful melodies are always there, threaded throughout the songs, like something off an Alcest album but fused to that gritty, low-fi offbeat black metal and the broken rhythms. It really is captivating stuff, but when the vocals fully kick in, then it really turns into something odd. For much of this, the singer delivers the vocals in a typical harsh, throat-shredding scream, but he also sometimes slips into a wonderfully weird, nasally croon that was described by the black metal blog Attila The Hun as sounding "...like a mix of Swedish Chef and the vocals for Italy's Nazgul...". Yes, it's pretty weird, but not quite as silly sounding as you might think. Even more impressive is how that quirky vocal style doesn't detract from Herald's strikingly forlorn beauty. It's the sort of stuff that most "depressive" black metal bands would kill to be able to write, though as the vocals start to get blurred together and looped into a psychotic din on "Panolepte (Ityphallic Rapture)" while the music becomes more frenzied and noisy, this definitely gets into some pretty warped territory, and that last song "Burned Village" almost abandons black metal entirely; a haunting mix of martial drumming and archaic folky undercurrents, this song would later be covered by L'Acephale on their Malefeasance album...
Track Samples:
Sample : SADASTOR-Herald Of Confusion
Sample : SADASTOR-Herald Of Confusion
Sample : SADASTOR-Herald Of Confusion



SEKTARISM   L'Offrande   CASSETTE   (Zanjeer Zani Production)    6.50



Now available on limited edition cassette from the narco-scum at Zanjeer Zani, limited to a mere ninety-nine copies.
A single seventeen-minute track of blackened, Satan-worshipping doom called "L'Offrande" (or "The Offering") from France's Sektarism, who debuted with this Ep on the Insidious Poisoning imprint that I just discovered through one of our French suppliers. I have no idea who's in this band, their page on metal-archives.com is pretty barren, but this disc is fucking gnarly sounding. It’s blackened doom, incredibly (ridiculously?) bleak and miserable sounding as the band lumbers through a frequently shapeless doom-dirge that's sometimes crushingly heavy and pummeling, sometimes floating through a squealing cloud of visceral feedback and thunderous amplifier noise that gets into psychedelic out-guitar improve territory at times. These freaks evoke a brand of droning, monotonous crawl with a similar nightmarish ritualistic vibe as bands like Trees, Burning Witch and Bloody Panda, other comparisons might include the suicidal blackened doom of Nortt and black funeral doom weirdoes Senthil, but Sektarism are a bit more fucked-up and psychotic, incorporating elements of black metal into their sound and fronted by a deranged singer who moans and chants and wails like a shaman in the throes of visions, hurling seemingly random blasphemies against the oozing wall of dissonant guitar noise and spacious rumble, with these stretches of howling blackened amp-howl that sounds like the band is wandering into a narcotic haze, with moments that approach Fushitsusha-style guitar destruction. And they aren’t kidding around about their love for Satan; based on my limited grasp of the French language, the lyrics for "L'Offrande" read like poetry for a sacrificial rite. It’s sloppy, stumbling and totally evil psych-doom, way more raw and droning and noisy than the likes of Trees, but just as twisted and creepy sounding.
Track Samples:
Sample : SEKTARISM-L'Offrande



SEKTARISM   Le Son Des Stigmates   CD   (Daemon Worship Productions)    11.99



Somewhat modeled after the legendary French black metal collective LLN, the small n' obscure Les Apôtres De l'Ignominie (or "Apostles of Ignominy") circle is made up of a triad of strange Satanic black metal bands that include Darvulia and Malhkebre as well as a shadowy "doom metal" band called Sektarism. I'm a big fan of all of these bands, but out of all of them, Sektarism is easily the most fucked-up sounding. A couple of years ago, I listed a Cd release from Sektarism called L'Offrande which featured one long song of stumbling, shambling doom that was swept up in a murky basement atmosphere of drunken Satanic ritual and hateful ravings, with a really low-fi and noisy recording that was maybe a step or two above 4-track quality, and with so much rumbling feedback and dissonant guitar noise that I was compelled to describe that recording as a weird combination of blackened ritualistic doom in the vein of Trees and Bloody Panda, and the most destroyed, distorted moments of Fushitsusha's Pathétique as filtered through the rotting skull-meat of a French opium addict. Sounds pretty great, right? I've been steadily picking up whatever I can from this bizarre-sounding band, and the latest Sektarism offense is this new Cd Le Son Des Stigmates which includes both the Hosanna Sathana and Le Testament recordings (previously only available on cassette) as well as a new intro piece. They all follow the same route as the first Ep: long, sprawling blackened garage-doom jams that wanders drunkenly through an extremely low-fi haze of extreme misanthropic hatred, narcotics, noisy primitive doom, and shrieking Satanic flesh-lust. If you are one of the few that have already fallen under the black spell of Sektarism's shambling, seemingly improvised sludge, these more recent recordings are essential.
The new intro track sets the foul mood: waves of approaching feedback-filth and the stumbling rhythms of the drummer lead into a warped vocal chant and nearly formless guitar noise that spreads out like a plume of black smoke for more than five minutes.
Hosanna Sathana is the second Sektarism tape, and again, it's one long, nearly half-hour track that grabs huge fistfuls of blasphemous imagery and Satanic vomit and smears it all against a backdrop of stumbling, low-fi doom metal. And again, it's raw as hell, the meandering and formless drug-damaged Satanic garage doom shrouded in room hiss and ambient murk. The song starts off with chugging Frostian riffs and droning murky chords rumbling amid buzzing spacious ambient room sounds as the drummer plows ahead, seemingly improvising at times as the band chugs through spacious droning sludge and primitive doom metal. Eklezjas'Tik Berzerk's unintelligible mewling shrieks and moans rise out of the background, reciting strange French lyrics that celebrating death-worship, disease and Satanism, constantly shift from ecstatic chanting to bizarre possessed mewling to guttural, orgasmic barking as the rest of the band wanders in and out of strange psychedelic jamming. The riffs collapsing into billowing clouds of effects and feedback, the bass droning incessantly and often circling endlessly on simple hypnotic grooves while the drummer drifts into lots of jazzy fills and improvised rhythm changes. To me, "Hosanna Sathana" seems more abstract and droning than the other Sektraism tapes, with more forays into long stretches of rumbling amp-drone and feedback hum, and at times taps into a similar exploratory vibe as Spanish avant-doom metallers Orthodox, albeit one that is far more wretched and diseased sounding...
The third of the Sektarism tapes, Le Testament meanders through it's black-lit delirium for almost twenty minutes, the music loose and probably mostly improvised, the sound filthy and covered in cobwebs, carrying on with more of their gnarled, raw doom metal that wanders off into noisy jamming, shapeless dirges and bizarre behavior throughout the whole song. The drooling vocals of front man Eklezjas'Tik Berzerk offer up endless Satanic devotion in an incoherent stream of profanities and vileness delivered in French, and the performance is cloaked in a drugged, occult atmosphere with such a garage-level production that it feels as if you are listening to something much older than this actually is. Sektarism stumbles through sparsely arranged dirges and heavy spacious riffs that crawl over Shamaanik B.'s messy drumming, the band frequently staggering to a sudden halt and abruptly shifting into another riff, or collapsing into a long stretch of feedback and amp noise. Wiry blackened guitar leads appear over the chugging doom riffs, and the winding bass slithers across pounding tribal rhythms and sheets of polluted feedback, and by the end of "Le Testament", the band wanders off into a din of scraped guitar strings blanketed in effects, gargling vocal noises, and droning feedback. There's a few precedents for the kind of low-fi black doom that Sektarism practices - it has kind of the same garagey, ramshackle feel as old Upsidedown Cross, Finnish improv-doom metallers Night Must Fall, Persistence In Mourning’s noisy sludge, and the murky black mess of Alkerdeel - but the stain of demented French black metal clings to this foul music, becoming a form of blighted metal all its own...
Comes in a six-panel digipack with a twenty-page booklet, and limited to 999 copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : SEKTARISM-Le Son Des Stigmates
Sample : SEKTARISM-Le Son Des Stigmates
Sample : SEKTARISM-Le Son Des Stigmates



SEKTARISM   Le Testament   CASSETTE   (Zanjeer Zani Production)    6.50



Somewhat modeled after the legendary French black metal collective LLN, the small n' obscure Les Apôtres De l'Ignominie (or "Apostles of Ignominy") circle is made up of a triad of strange Satanic black metal bands that include Darvulia and Malhkebre alongside a shadowy doom metal band called Sektarism. I'm a big fan of all of these bands, but out of all of them, Sektarism is easily the most fucked-up sounding of the lot. A couple of years ago, I listed a Cd release from Sektarism called L'Offrande, which featured one long song of stumbling, shambling doom that was swept up in a murky basement atmosphere of drunken Satanic ritual and hateful ravings, with a really low-fi and noisy recording that was maybe a step or two above 4-track quality, and with so much rumbling feedback and dissonant guitar noise that I described that recording as a weird combination of blackened ritualistic doom in the vein of Trees and Bloody Panda, and the most destroyed, distorted moments of Fushitsusha's Pathétique as filtered through the rotting skull-meat of a French opium addict. Sounds pretty great, right? That Ep won me over immediately, but it wasn't until just a few weeks ago that I came upon the other two releases that Sektarism had put out in the wake of L'Offrande. Only released on cassette by the equally mysterious new imprint Zanjeer Zani Production, the professionally assembled and printed Le Testament and Hosanna Sathana tapes just came out last year (2011), and each follows the same route as the first Ep: a long, sprawling blackened garage-doom jam that wanders drunkenly through an extremely low-fi haze of extreme misanthropic hatred, narcotics, noisy primitive doom, and shrieking Satanic flesh-lust. If you are one of the few that have already fallen under the black spell of Sektarism's shambling, seemingly improvised sludge, these more recent recordings are essential.
The third of the Sektarism tapes, Le Testament meanders through it's black-lit delirium for almost twenty minutes, the music loose and probably mostly improvised, the sound filthy and covered in cobwebs, carrying on with more of their gnarled, raw doom metal that wanders off into noisy jamming, shapeless dirges and bizarre behavior throughout the whole song. The drooling vocals of front man Eklezjas'Tik Berzerk offer up endless Satanic devotion in an incoherent stream of profanities and vileness delivered in French, and the performance is cloaked in a drugged, occult atmosphere with such a garage-level production that it feels as if you are listening to something much older than this actually is. Sektarism stumbles through sparsely arranged dirges and heavy spacious riffs that crawl over Shamaanik B.'s messy drumming, the band frequently staggering to a sudden halt and abruptly shifting into another riff, or collapsing into a long stretch of feedback and amp noise. Wiry blackened guitar leads appear over the chugging doom riffs, and the winding bass slithers across pounding tribal rhythms and sheets of polluted feedback, and by the end of "Le Testament", the band wanders off into a din of scraped guitar strings blanketed in effects, gargling vocal noises, and droning feedback. There's a few precedents for the kind of low-fi black doom that Sektarism practices - it has kind of the same garagey, ramshackle feel as old Upsidedown Cross, Finnish improv-doom metallers Night Must Fall, Persistence In Mourning’s noisy sludge, and the murky black mess of Alkerdeel - but the stain of demented French black metal clings to this foul music, becoming a form of blighted metal all its own...
Limited to ninety-nine copies.


SEKTARISM   L'Offrande   CD   (Insidious Poisoning)    9.98



A single seventeen-minute track of blackened, Satan-worshipping doom called "L'Offrande" (or "The Offering") from France's Sektarism, who debuted with this Ep on the Insidious Poisoning imprint that I just discovered through one of our French suppliers. I have no idea who's in this band, their page on metal-archives.com is pretty barren, but this disc is fucking gnarly sounding. It’s blackened doom, incredibly (ridiculously?) bleak and miserable sounding as the band lumbers through a frequently shapeless doom-dirge that's sometimes crushingly heavy and pummeling, sometimes floating through a squealing cloud of visceral feedback and thunderous amplifier noise that gets into psychedelic out-guitar improve territory at times. These freaks evoke a brand of droning, monotonous crawl with a similar nightmarish ritualistic vibe as bands like Trees, Burning Witch and Bloody Panda, other comparisons might include the suicidal blackened doom of Nortt and black funeral doom weirdoes Senthil, but Sektarism are a bit more fucked-up and psychotic, incorporating elements of black metal into their sound and fronted by a deranged singer who moans and chants and wails like a shaman in the throes of visions, hurling seemingly random blasphemies against the oozing wall of dissonant guitar noise and spacious rumble, with these stretches of howling blackened amp-howl that sounds like the band is wandering into a narcotic haze, with moments that approach Fushitsusha-style guitar destruction. And they aren’t kidding around about their love for Satan; based on my limited grasp of the French language, the lyrics for "L'Offrande" read like poetry for a sacrificial rite. It’s sloppy, stumbling and totally evil psych-doom, way more raw and droning and noisy than the likes of Trees, but just as twisted and creepy sounding.
Track Samples:
Sample : SEKTARISM-L'Offrande



SEKTARISM   Hosanna Sathana   CASSETTE   (Zanjeer Zani Production)    6.50

Hosanna Sathana IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

Somewhat modeled after the legendary French black metal collective LLN, the small n' obscure Les Apôtres De l'Ignominie (or "Apostles of Ignominy") circle is made up of a triad of strange Satanic black metal bands that include Darvulia and Malhkebre alongside a shadowy doom metal band called Sektarism. I'm a big fan of all of these bands, but out of all of them, Sektarism is easily the most fucked-up sounding of the lot. A couple of years ago, I listed a Cd release from Sektarism called L'Offrande, which featured one long song of stumbling, shambling doom that was swept up in a murky basement atmosphere of drunken Satanic ritual and hateful ravings, with a really low-fi and noisy recording that was maybe a step or two above 4-track quality, and with so much rumbling feedback and dissonant guitar noise that I described that recording as a weird combination of blackened ritualistic doom in the vein of Trees and Bloody Panda, and the most destroyed, distorted moments of Fushitsusha's Pathétique as filtered through the rotting skull-meat of a French opium addict. Sounds pretty great, right? That Ep won me over immediately, but it wasn't until just a few weeks ago that I came upon the other two releases that Sektarism had put out in the wake of L'Offrande. Only released on cassette by the equally mysterious new imprint Zanjeer Zani Production, the professionally assembled and printed Le Testament and Hosanna Sathana tapes just came out last year (2011), and each follows the same route as the first Ep: a long, sprawling blackened garage-doom jam that wanders drunkenly through an extremely low-fi haze of extreme misanthropic hatred, narcotics, noisy primitive doom, and shrieking Satanic flesh-lust. If you are one of the few that have already fallen under the black spell of Sektarism's shambling, seemingly improvised sludge, these more recent recordings are essential.
Hosanna Sathana is the second Sektarism tape, and again, it's one long, nearly half-hour track that grabs huge fistfuls of blasphemous imagery and Satanic vomit and smears it all against a backdrop of stumbling, low-fi doom metal. And again, it's raw as hell, the meandering and formless drug-damaged Satanic garage doom shrouded in room hiss and ambient murk. The song starts off with chugging Frostian riffs and droning murky chords rumbling amid buzzing spacious ambient room sounds as the drummer plows ahead, seemingly improvising at times as the band chugs through spacious droning sludge and primitive doom metal. Eklezjas'Tik Berzerk's unintelligible mewling shrieks and moans rise out of the background, reciting strange French lyrics that celebrating death-worship, disease and Satanism, constantly shift from ecstatic chanting to bizarre possessed mewling to guttural, orgasmic barking as the rest of the band wanders in and out of strange psychedelic jamming. The riffs collapsing into billowing clouds of effects and feedback, the bass droning incessantly and often circling endlessly on simple hypnotic grooves while the drummer drifts into lots of jazzy fills and improvised rhythm changes. To me, "Hosanna Sathana" seems more abstract and droning than the other Sektraism tapes, with more forays into long stretches of rumbling amp-drone and feedback hum, and at times taps into a similar exploratory vibe as Spanish avant-doom metallers Orthodox, albeit one that is far more wretched and diseased sounding...
Released in a limited edition of ninety-nine copies.


SILCHARDE   Les Tourments De La Charogne   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    4.98



We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
Les Tourments De La Charogne is the first cassette from the mysterious French black-ambient artist Silcharde. Even more ambient and isolationist than the bizarre atmospherics of the follow-up I Love...My Death, the eight tracks on this cassette make up an disturbing descent into cavernous nocturnal drones where shimmery metallic textures float slowly through vast expanses of darkness, followed by ghoulish whispers and dying breaths that have been looped over and over again into new layers of creeped-out sound. At their quietest, the tracks on Les Tourments De La Charogne evoke the same sort of isolationist dread as artists like Lustmord and Lull while injecting the sound with their own aura of graveyard decay and gusts of rotten air that feel as if they are billowing through long-forgotten catacombs. Creepy as hell and bathed in murky electronic effects and a layer of tape hiss, the deep unsettling vibe is occasionally punctured by swells of cinematic synth drones, or clanking industrial rhythms that appear for just a brief moment before becoming swallowed up again by the suffocating blackness. This actually does remind me of some of Aghast's more minimal material, as well as the deep-creep black ambience of Neuntoter Der Plage and Reverorum ib Malacht. Limited to 250 copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : SILCHARDE-Les Tourments De La Charogne
Sample : SILCHARDE-Les Tourments De La Charogne



SILCHARDE   De Martyrs A Bourreaux   CD   (Frozen Wing Records)    11.98












Track Samples:
Sample : SILCHARDE-De Martyrs A Bourreaux
Sample : SILCHARDE-De Martyrs A Bourreaux
Sample : SILCHARDE-De Martyrs A Bourreaux



SILCHARDE   Sortilege de Mecreant   CD   (Frozen Wing Records)    11.98



Before I discovered the French label Frozen Wing, I had been looking high and low for anything from the mysterious French group Silcharde, whose releases had been proving to be pretty elusive beyond the super-limited cassettes that I originally found on Infernal Kommando. I fell in love with those tapes and the murky black phantasmagoria that they contained, so I was stoked to find that there were three different full-length discs that were all released on Frozen Wing.
Sortilège De Mécréant is the first full length disc from Silcharde, seven tracks of deformed industrial drone and fragments of black metal melody. The tracks are largely woven around simple rhythmic elements, such as the steady slow pulse of a hi-hat cymbal that continues through the entire title track, as fragments of blackened guitar, tribal drumming, and sheets of hazy reverb-soaked noise drift across the canvas. The dissonant, evil guitar figures that emerge throughout Sortilège are the one thread that connects this to the more experimental edges of Frenchy black metal; mostly this shares a similar ghostly, demented atmosphere as the weird ambient side-projects that were part of the Les Légions Noires like Moëvöt and Amaka Hahina. This is dreamlike, formless music, full of strange wailing sounds drift through the blackness, distant murmurs and grunts echoing endlessly through catacomb passageways. There's nothing here resembling "lyrics", just tortured grunts and sobs barely recognizable as human, appearing in dark corners of the soundspace. Crashing gongs, thick clouds of prayer-bowl hum and bowed-cymbal drone reverberate throughout underground chambers lined with walls of stacked skulls, and percussion instruments appear mainly in the form of huge cymbal crashes, gong-like reverberations, and brief flurries of tribal pummel. It's hard to tell when one song ends and the next begin; everything melts together in a gauzy wash of sound. The band does veer from this sound at the very end of the album, on a "hidden" bonus track where Silcharde wraps a bunch of crackling lock-groove loops around those crashing cymbals and demonic roaring, closing the album with an unexpected swell of harsh industrial grinding.
This falls somewhere in between the likes of Lustmord (circa Monstrous Soul) and Inade, and the tweaked black insanity of LLN bands like Moevot and Satanicum Tenebrae, and is (along with the other two discs on Frozen Wing) recommended to any fans of weird black ambience...
Limited to five hundred copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : SILCHARDE-Sortilege de Mecreant
Sample : SILCHARDE-Sortilege de Mecreant



SILCHARDE   I Love...My Death   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    4.98

I Love...My Death IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
Silcharde is one of the more mysterious projects that I've discovered through Infernal Kommando. This French artist has released a couple of cassettes, two of which came out through Infernal Kommando, but information on who is behind this and where they are from is essentially nonexistant. The I Love...My Death cassette is the second from Silcharde on IK, and features eight tracks of extremely abstract black ambience and weird industrial minimalism that every once in a while mutates into a bizarre sort of industrial black noise. Most of these tracks drift slowly and quietly through fields of distant electric hum and clouds of tape hiss, the barely-there soundscapes laced with almost imperceptible pulses and subterranean tones that echo the across vast plains of nocturnal silence. The calm is shattered occasionally by the sounds of huge pieces of metal being dragged, or smashed, or otherwise abused, and delicate strains of fluctuating sinewaves and ghostly vocals drift like sonic spiderweb across the void. This strange, murky industrial ambience makes up most of I Love...My Death, and is similiar to a more minimal Aethenor or Alvars Orkester. But on one track in particular, the deep drones are strafed by what sounds like a tinny prehistoric drum machine that suddenly begins blasting relentlessly, a black metal style blastbeat that never changes, instead becoming a metronomic blast that tears through Silcharde's dreamy abyssal ambience until the track just dissolves at the end. There's more of that relentless blastbeating later on, but when it reappears it's all muted and softened, as if you are hearing it from miles and miles away, just a machine like rumbling echoing through the night while nearby lurks someone wailing and babbling at the bottom of an abandoned well. Weird. I saw someone somewhere compare this to Aghast, but those ladies were nowhere near as abstract and minimal as what Silcharde is doing; this is much closer in feel to the fucked black ambience of Reverorum Ib Malacht or Neuntoter Der Plage. Really strange abstract ambience, limited to 250 copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : SILCHARDE-I Love...My Death



SKULL FACE   It's Your Fucking Mind   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    6.50



  It may well be another signifier of worsening mental illness, but I've been increasingly worshipping at the altar of French madman Luc Victor Mertz, who apparently spends the bulk of his time down in his basement recording endless hours of demented primitive outsider garage metal. I've been blasting various tapes from his notoriously prolific, terminally primitive black metal/punk/noise project Zarach'Baal'Tharagh for years, and his main "band" has got to be one of the most loathed of all of the primitive black/thrash bands that I've been turned on to through the Infernal Kommando label. Zarach'Baal'Tharagh is only one of many weird bedroom projects that Mertz has recorded as through the years, though, with other projects like Stigma Diabolicum, Occult Vomit, and Wolok extending even deeper into the depths of mutant black metal and crude blackened ambience. The oldest of all of his "bands" would appear to be Skull Face, a project that, according to the listing on Metal-Archives.com, dates back all the way to 1983 when Mertz supposedly released the original eight-song Live in Death Chamber demo; one views this through a certain amount of skepticism though, as there's a couple of clues that the whole thing might be a sort of prank on the part of Mertz to create a made-up history/mythology for the band. Who knows- one thing is for sure, though, is that if the band has been around since the early 80's, it's remained almost totally unchanged since it started, because the newer Skull Face recordings that make up the It's Your Fucking Mind tape are just as primitive and sloppy as the one old song that the band includes here, the whole thing sounding like it was found some rotting TDK cassette that someone found underneath an old couch that hasn't been moved in thirty years.
   At times sounding like some fucked-up black metal Shaggs making an hopelessly inebriated attempt at playing Oi!, at others lurching through a sort of acid-gobbling psychedelic blackthrash, most of this tape is made up of recent recordings that Mertz produced under the Skull Face name, twenty eight tracks of low-fi black slime that combines primitive Venom-esque black thrash riffs, weird acid-rock freak-outs that spin off into long, inebriated psych-guitar meltdowns, simple plodding drum machine rhythms, weird stumbling stop-start dirges, demented slide-guitar slop, and Mertz's bizarre gargling vocals. His guitar is constantly teetering on the edge of going totally out of tune, the songs are held together with spit and spilt beer and hash scrapings, the drums sometimes shifting into almost breakbeat-like rhythms. Songs just sort of start up and drop off without warning, and the whole glorious mess sounds like the "band" is totally flying by the seat of their pants. In fact, Skull Face's sloppy racket isn't too far removed from the 70's rock-obsessed black metal weirdness of Tjolgtjar, and has a similarly psych-damaged feel to it, with a couple songs ("Divine Death", "Reap Of Evil") sounding not all that unlike some gnarly, blackened, retarded version of KISS, filtered through a delirium of broken 4-track equipment and alcohol abuse. Despite the catchiness of a lot of these songs, this stuff is pretty much for weirdo/outsider black thrash fans only, as the execution is just completely wrecked and wretched; further in, Mertz veers into a few tracks of insanely grotesque industrial muck made up of vomitous vocals, shambling drum machine thump and an overload of guitar effects fuckery and keyboard creep. The tape closes with that one track off of the old 1983 demo, the song "Dog Of Hell", a skuzzy dose of blackened punk.
   Obviously recommended to any of you creeps who dig the weird, wicked world of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh, as well as fans of the fucked-up blackness of Akitsa, Malveillance, Tjolgtjar, Blood Cult and Aanal Beehemoth. Limited to one hundred copies.


SORC'HENN   Faro: Death Of The Island Sheeps   CDR   (Crucial Bliss)    6.50



I've been haunted by the beautifully dark loopscapes of French artist Sorc'henn dating back to first hearing the band on their Harmonium pieces & dead reveries disc released by Faunasabbatha, so we were immensely stoked when Sorc'henn was interested in releasing some more of their music through Crucial Bliss. This new full length features four tracks of Sorc'henn's murky, dreamy drones that stretch out over a misty, grey-washed landscape much like the one pictured on the exterior of Faro's foldout sleeve, a lightless wetland that fades way into the distance, obfuscated by a thick veil of shadow, and the fourth track is additionally notable for being a collaboration between Sorc'henn and members of Portland black metallers L'Acephale and Virginia deathdrone outfit One Lifeless Eye. The first track is essential Sorc'henn, a twenty-one minute dronescape that is mainly made up of a single warbling harmonium loop that repeats over and over and over, as a young woman whispers lines of poetry over top. As minimalist and simple as this is, it's amazingly beautiful, and almost has a My Bloody Valentine-like quality to it, like one of the guitar-feedback ambient parts of Loveless that has been melted and crushed into a misshapen version of the original melody. The second track is a mere four minutes in comparison - a deep, murky field of subterranean rumblings and a distant crackling sound, like a phonograph needle stuck in a run-off groove over crashing waves of distorted tidal thunder and ominous harmonium drones. The next track is basically a continuation of the previous, with those sinister harmonium drones humming over surges of distorted low-end thunder and weird noises that pan from speaker to speaker. The last track, the collaboration between Sorc'henn and members of L'Acephale and One Lifeless Eye, is the longest on the disc at ovr twenty-six minutes. This one is a sprawling expanse of murky black ambience, a slow-swirling fog of muted harmonium notes, oceanic sounds, chirping noises that might be frogs, and hushed, whispered cackles and demonic processed vocals drifting across a vast void of Lustmordian darkness.
Track Samples:
Sample : SORC'HENN-Faro: Death Of The Island Sheeps
Sample : SORC'HENN-Faro: Death Of The Island Sheeps
Sample : SORC'HENN-Faro: Death Of The Island Sheeps



SPEKTR   Near Death Experience   CD   (Candlelight)    9.98



If you've been paying attention at all lately to the black metal sounds being transmitted from France, you've no doubt noticed the surfacing of a particular aesthetic that focuses more on grim, otherworldly textures and atmosphere than speed or heaviness. And as much as I love both speed and heaviness, there's something about the corrosive, death-shroud ambience that seems to infest the French black metal underground that makes for what is, in my opinion at least, the most compelling, mind-bending black metal in action right now. I've been raving for awhile now about bands like Blut Aus Nord, Drastus, C.Y.T., Haemoth, Antaeus, Deathspell Omega...each one a wholly unique black metal entity speaking it's own diabolical tongue. Spektr is the latest of the French hordes that I've come into contact with, and features a member of the lethal BM outfit Haemoth. Near Death Experience is the duo's second album, a corroded cut -and-paste document of dead voices from behind the wall, a twisted vision of subliminal atmosphere that is almost more of an experimental black/drone album than black metal. It opens with "The Violent Stink of Twitching Terror", the first few moments a series of muted drones, factory clang and distant, almost imperceptible wails, before it implodes into a molten mass of white-noise riff and stuttering blast drums, fragmenting into sudden halting stops and off- kilter rhythm. The mid-paced shambling dirge of "Astral Descent" enters amidst a gust of crackling digital glitches, distorted howls and icy static wind, crawling right into "Climax", a four minute interlude of frozen, nebulous black ambience and deep subterranean power drone. "Phantom Reality" is the longest track on the album at almost 10 minutes in length, another harsh scrapescape of repetitious buried black metal riffage floating deep below gauzy layers of swirling white noise and broken shortwave radio transmissions, as EVP phenomena bleeds through veils of trebly buzzsaw guitars whose tone peels paint on contact. That's followed by "Visualization", another mostly instrumental interlude, this time comprised of deformed speech recordings melted over waves of black amplifier static and blissed out synthesizer clusters. "Whatever the Case May Be" starts off similiar to something from Ulver's more recent electronica output, but then quickly shapeshifts into buzzing black metal chords over a jazzy drumbeat, almost like some kind of blackened noir jazz with razor sharp guitars surfacing every now and then. Another blast of chattering percussion of hellish white noise/black blast follows with "Disturbing Signal"; then another expanse of deathly tomb ambience via "Unio Mystica", which leads directly into the album closer "His Mind Ravaged, His Memory Shattered". A riff similiar to that of the first track, bleak and buzzing, is accompanied by a weird, stumbling polyrhythm that starts to sound almost like a breakbeat from a trip-hop track, lurching underneath the midtempo buzz. The whole album is hypnotic and creepy, a document of nocturnal graveyard activity transmitted on secret frequencies, the garbled found sounds and broken radio transmissions beaming black code from behind the stars, cloaked in death-tripping rusted dub ambience and corpse jazz shuffle. Near Death Experience is a totally abstract, disorientating experience; before I picked the album up, I checked out a bunch of reviews online and it's for sure that this isn't for BM purists uninterested in the formless. But for those that dig taking the descent, this one is fully mesmerizing.
And in addition, this disc also includes CD-ROM content in the form of a video playable on your computer, for a track that doesn't appear on the CD entitled "The Near Death Experiences (The Screen Method)", a pastiche of dark ambient drones and strange, shuffling jazzy drums and cymbals, creeping over a broken Burzum style riff that sinks and surfaces in the blackness, like Bohren And Der Club Of Gore meets Burzum maybe, and then towards the end morphs into a dreamy collage of orchestral strains, mutant voices trying to break through, the sound of tympani pounding out spare marching rhythms. The video footage that accompanies the track is a series of treated images and melted visuals, the images degrading into abstract fields of shadow and threatening forms, utterly beautiful.
Track Samples:
Sample : SPEKTR-Near Death Experience
Sample : SPEKTR-Near Death Experience
Sample : SPEKTR-Near Death Experience



SPITE   Secular Hatred For A Singular Spawn   CASSETTE   (Deathangle Absolution)    8.00



    The latest batch of aural hate from Deathangle Absolution produced this re-issue of a recent demo from this new Dutch/French duo, previously available from the Cold Void Emanations label. On Secular Hatred, members Ascorn and Azanul unleash a killer assault of blackened crust, heavily steeped in that classic Discharge vibe with raging D-beat drumming and crushing metallic riffs bulldozing through a fog of reverb. Most of this demo is brutal, fast paced crust-metal powered by adolescent anti-authoritarian rage (and more than a little misanthropy), but they keep this lively with frequent forays into murky blackened blasting, passages of old-school grindcore that suddenly pivot out of the rampaging hardcore, streaked with evil tremolo riffs that bring that blackened edge to Spite's frenzied Motorcrust, or slip into stretches of grueling slow-motion heaviness, such as the monstrous rumbling Frostian doom of "Extreme Hatred". Some Sabbathian influences pop up on songs like "At Last", but it really turns into something unexpected with the closer "Circle Dims"; this song's strangely haunting doom features off-key singing drifting over more of that slow Frostian heaviness, eventually turning into a strange, eerie sort of gloom-rock with goth-tinged hooks, later breaking into faster, galloping hardcore punk just as the sound of horns begins trumpeting out of the depths. Pretty cool - Spite's warped blackened crust might seem out of place on a label better known for the totalitarian black/death metal of bands like Goatpenis, Revenge and Warfire, but if you dug their recent release of those awesome Ghost Kommando demos that I've drooled over elsewhere in the C-Blast catalog, you'll want to give this a listen, too.
    Limited to one hundred copies, the tape comes in an oversized plastic case with black and white artwork.
Track Samples:
Sample : SPITE-Secular Hatred For A Singular Spawn
Sample : SPITE-Secular Hatred For A Singular Spawn
Sample : SPITE-Secular Hatred For A Singular Spawn



STIGMA DIABOLICUM   Terror Inside II   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98



We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
Here's the second cassette from Stigma Diabolicum, the satanic ritual industrial project of Luc Mertz (also known as the demented genius behind the French outsider bedroom black metal band Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), and it's once again a surreal, dreamlike drift through abstract industrial soundscapes and grinding subterranean ambience. As part two in the Terror Inside saga from 2005, this picks up where the first tape left off, featuring fifteen tracks that make up a single piece called "The Demented Man (ZLT Rules)". Just over forty minutes of hazy machine dread, distant voices drifting on black clouds of tape hiss and metallic percussion, urban noises melted into slow moving tidal forms, vague melodies rising out of the murk and forming into a shapeless miasma of distorted ambience, chaotic oscillator freakouts, far-off demonic roars, weird spaceship computer fx, creepy vibraphone melodies, ...it's equal parts isolationist dread a la Lustmord, grimy old-school industrial soundscape of the RRRecords school of thought, NWW weirdness, Abruptum-esque anguish, and the minimal avant-garde tomb-thrum of the more recent Havohej records. Totally fucked.
Track Samples:
Sample : STIGMA DIABOLICUM-Terror Inside II
Sample : STIGMA DIABOLICUM-Terror Inside II



STIGMA DIABOLICUM   Terror Inside   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98



We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
Loner black metal mutant Luc Mertz is already well known to me thanks to his insanely prolific bedroom black metal band Zarach'Baal'Tharagh, but I didn't know anything about the other projects that he's involved in until we picked up these Infernal Kommando tapes recently. Once of the projects that I checked out and dug was Stigma Diabolicum, who I didnt know anything about but was instantly hooked by the couple of tracks that I was able to find of theirs online. I'm a sucker for pretty much anything along the lines of black ambience, and Stigma Diabolicum's murky ritualistic crypt-drones definitely deliver some serious evil vibes. It wasn't until I got the two cassettes that this project released on Infernal Kommando that I realized that this was just another alter ego of Mertz, here leaving behind his trademark brand of brain-damaged psychedelic blackpunk/noizeslop and unfurling monstrous slabs of doomy industrial dread across a series of twenty five tracks, each one titled "Zombified (ZLT 50 mg)", parts 1-25. There has always been an obvious old school noise/industrial element to ZBT's music, but here that influence comes to the fore, each track a surreal black blot of wavering electronic tones and slimy dungeon ambience, demonic groans and distant tribal percussion, a pitch black industrial death-ritual that sounds slurred and syrupy, like the tape player is slowing down as the batteries die, the hellish tribal pound oozing out like black tar from the speakers for more than forty-seven minutes. Obviously, the influence of Abruptum is felt here, but this shit is way more informed by early industrial than the improvised black metal of Abruptum, and actually comes much closer to the ultra-minimal coffin murk of some of the later Havohej material. It's excellent stuff, though anyone looking for anything resembling "black metal" certainly won't find it here. Released in 2005, this cassettes is the first in a set of two, and you'll find the Terror Inside II cassette also reviewed in this weeks new arrivals list.
Track Samples:
Sample : STIGMA DIABOLICUM-Terror Inside
Sample : STIGMA DIABOLICUM-Terror Inside



TERRODROWN   Colonize And Regulate   CD   (Infernal Kommando)    11.98



Vicious industrial black metal from France that bears some similiarity to another French black metal band that we're big fans of around here, Blut Aus Nord. There's worse bands that you could be compared to, and Terrodrown has a dark, warped sound that reminds me of BAN's The Work Which Transforms God , blending together cold industrial sounds, blazingly fast and dissonant black metal, and ominous otherworldly ambience. Where Terrordrown make their own mark is in the details, using samplers and synthesizers to build a dense, inhuman world of orchestral sound around the hyperfast mechanical blastbeats and whirlwinds of atonal riffage and blackened croaks. Their basic sound draws from classic old school black metal, but it's warped and processed through banks of effects and electronics and programmed beats, a Borg version of frosty Scandinavian blackness. Which compliments the hellish terraformer nightmares and Lovecraftian sci-fi horrors that fill Terrodrown's lyrics. Vocals are harsh and blown out, pushed past the brink of distortion into furious timestretched smears of screeching hatred. Guitars are bent and mangled into dissonant, alien riffs and bizarre atonal melodies, and the programmed drums are way up front in the mix, going from ultrafast blastbeats to herky-jerky fills, and most of all lots of martial snares, snare drums cracking and rolling as if Terrodrown was about to launch into some kind of blackened cosmic war march, the rat-a-tat of the martial marching rhythms appearing all over the album. There are spaced out guitar melodies and stretches of slow moving black drift, huge blasts of Wagnerian orchestral strings, vast swathes of murky dark ambience, majestic film-score keyboards and symphonic samples, bits of grim acoustic guitar melody, brief eruptions of crushing death industrial, haunting piano loops and Hammond-ish keys, and buzzing black metal riffs that are rendered into processed 8-bit melodies. It's wild shit, with vicious drum programming that almost sounds like spastic digital grindcore at times, without losing an ounce of their hellish cosmic blackness. Released late last year on the tiny black metal label Infernal Kommando, this is a killer album of sci-fi obsessed, rhythmically fucked industrial black metal that's especially recommended to fans of Blut Aus Nord's industro-leaning albums seeing as how Colonize And Regulate comes across as a cross between Blut Aus Nord and Grand Declaration Of War=era Mayhem, but you should really check em out if your into any of the following as well: C.Y.T., Aborym, Alien Deviant Circus, Diapsiquir, Dodheimsgard, Spektr, and that sort of futuristic, mechanical blackness. Killer. Limited to 500 copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : TERRODROWN-Colonize And Regulate
Sample : TERRODROWN-Colonize And Regulate
Sample : TERRODROWN-Colonize And Regulate



UNO ACTU   L'eveil de l'ombre   CDR   (Symbolic Productions)    9.98



The Inexistence cassette from Uno Actu that came through here last year introduced me to the strangest of all of the bands associated with the bizarre French Canadian black metal sect surrounding the Tour De Garde label. Finding anything else from Uno Actu had been a no-go up until just recently, when I found out that French black metal label Infernal Kommando had released a cd-r reissue of the very first Uno Actu demo through their experimental side-label Symbolic Productions, a ten-track disc that first came out back in 2003, reissued here with two previously unavailable tracks, and containing even stranger sounds than I had been expecting. The strange percussive sounds and pitch-black subterranean atmosphere of the tape is again found here, but there's also a lot of oddball black metal vocalization, warped melodic elements, and keyboards that sometimes makes this sound like a stripped-down, necro Za Frumi.
The disc opens with the bizarre black-pit ambience of "De L'Incree", a rumbling, groaning mass of creepy kosmiche synth and random percussive clatter n' thunder from someone playing tympani and cymbals, while snarling black metal vocals rant and drool over top. But then the album's most surprising moment appears in the second track, "Chute Astrale". The track opens with a blurr of blown-out guitar screech that suggests that the band is about to blast off into some super distorted black metal, but this dissipates almost immediately as a male voice enters with a drunken liturgical chant, and then suddenly it turns into an actual song, with blurry, super-distorted guitars and xylophones (!) coming together and playing a demented, slightly out-of-tune melody that's nonetheless very pretty and catchy, almost sounding like something you'd hear on a Mercury Rev album but filtered through Uno Actu's bizarre blackened murkiness, and surrounded by snarling demonic vocals, clattery percussion and thunderous tympani-like rumbles. It's short but super catchy, a twisted bit of blackened indie-pop melody surfacing from a black pit of amp noise and tape hiss.
For the rest of the disc, we come across more fragmented bits of melody here and there, but these are scattered among more abstract and droning pieces of blackened improvisation. There's bellowing black ambience and atonal piano that drifts across the abyssal emptiness of "Machen", and the sickening treble-loaded black metal riffing and minimal piano throb of the title track, where skeletal low-fi BM is littered across a backdrop of grimy old-school industrial atmosphere. More of these industrial textures show up in "Corps Confundis", with creepy acoustic folk and dour spoken word (in French, bien entendu) and gasping goblin voices lurking in the background, joined by a pulsating industrial beat that enter after a minute along with distorted minor key guitars, turning this into a lurching blat of psychedelic dirge with wailing acid leads searing the surface.
"Grimoires Chtoniens" is a low-fi, almost kraut-rock informed doomdirge, with super fuzzed out, washed-out blackened guitars hovering over what sound like tambourines and marching snares, a plodding rhythmic percussive jam smeared with gargling black metal vocals and everything covered in cobwebs of speaker fuzz and echo, like Abruptum meets Silvester Anfang. "Ce Monde N'eriste Pas" opens with waves of heavy feedback that become more and more distorted, slowly growing in volume and density as more layers of aural grit and white noise appear, heavy blasts of distortion buffeting the speakers, the sound turning into a dense cloud of ominous guitar feedback and noise churning out blackened drones. The next track is much quieter, with funereal organ tones drifting over rumbling black ambience and minimal synths, a simple ominous melody that repeats over and over, evoking total sorrow and hopelessness, the dark ambience interrupted only by distant clattering sounds. And the final track "De La Terreur" returns to more black metal-esque territory, but still completely abstract and strange, of course; a trebly evil minor-key melody played on something that almost sounds like a super distorted and processed harpsichord, while immense kettledrums rumble in the background and screeching, snarling blackened vocals swoop overhead.
These early recordings from Uno Actu reveal a more eclectic side that wasn't as apparent in the thick black curtains of ambient noise and deformed black metal riffing on their Inexistence cassette. Still totally mysterious and dreamlike and steeped in weird evil atmosphere, though, and if you're a fan of their other releases, this is equally out-there, a series of twisted necro-improv ambient death-rituals whose clostest reference points are Emit and Abruptum at their most atmopsheric and abstract.
The disc is packaged in a standard jewel case with a simple insert cover, with light red paint on the actual face of the disc.
Track Samples:
Sample : UNO ACTU-L'eveil de l'ombre
Sample : UNO ACTU-L'eveil de l'ombre
Sample : UNO ACTU-L'eveil de l'ombre
Sample : UNO ACTU-L'eveil de l'ombre



UNO ACTU   Inexistence   CASSETTE   (Tour De Garde)    4.98



Haven't gotten too many titles from Tour De Garde in stock in the past, but I'm hoping to change that...last thing we picked up from the cult Canadian black metal label was the blown out blackpunk holocaust of Malveillance's Insignificance cassette, and now we've got something just as blackened and sinister, but also totally different: Uno Actu, a mysterious French Canadian outfit who perform a weird sort of blackened ambience who move through strange interconnected sonic scenes of dreamlike drift and creepy aural events. There is hardly any information out there about this band, and this tape reveals very little about who is behind it (the tape cover only has the strange high-contrast abstract artwork, a track listing and some minimal contact info). Who-or-whatever Uno Actu is, the sounds that emerge from this tape are amazing, a kind of creepy ritualistic shadowdrift, each side of the tape holding open an portal onto an abstract realm of slowly shifting drones and deep reverberating thrum, far-off tribal drums pounding in strange rhythmic patterns, swells of epic, minor key orchestral sound, sudden bursts of screeching power electronics, lush swathes of metallic shimmering cymbals that echo across Uno Actu's vast black expanse, muted foghorn tones and slithering tendrils of distortion. Occasionally there will appear some distorted fragments of abstract black metal in the form of stillborn riffs and infuriated distorted vocals that bleed through the murky blackened dronescape, and these moments are fierce and deranged, but only last for a brief moment before being subsumed back into the spacious black drift. This is an eerie, dreamlike world of strange sonic shadows, somewhat similiar to the Black Legions ambient project Moevot at times, or the atmospheric improv-blackness of early Emit. Limited to 500 copies, each one hand numbered.


UTLAGR   Traditions Normandes   CD   (Paradigms)    11.98



More ripping black metal from the Paradigms series, following up that recent killer Throne Of Katarsis CD. Utlagr deliver epic, majestic Scandanavian style black metal in the vein of Mayhem, Immortal, and early Satyricon, only Utlagr aren't Scandinavian, they're French Canadian, and their music is a pagan tribute to Rolfr Utlagr, the founder of Normandy ! It's a scorched earth blast of killer triumphant riffs and pestilent NWOBHM hooks, apocalyptic acoustic guitars swept away into a sea of buzzing blastbeats and grim, frosty black metal. Killer stuff that fans of the recent slate of scorched black n' roll albums from Craft and Negator would probably dig. Limited edition of 750, with the disc and insert contained in a Paradigms series full-color card sleeve wallet that is sealed inside of a hand-stamped presentation envelope. Recommended!


VI   De Praestigiis Daemonum   CASSETTE   (Fog Of The Apocalypse)    7.99



Named after an infamous book written by 16th century Dutch demonologist Johann Weyer, De Praestigiis Daemonum is a stellar mini-album of scornful Parisian black metal that originally came out on Debemur Morti Productions before being re-issued on cassette by Fog Of Apocalypse. Another band that I was surprised not to have stumbled across before, the duo includes Sebastian Tuvi, a member of some other notable French BM bands like Aosoth and Balrog (and was also formerly a member of Belgian death metallers Aborted); for their debut, they invoke a complex, atmospheric sound that is immediately identifiable as being part of the French underground; fans of the Debemur Morti/Norma Evangelium Diaboli labels will no doubt dig the level of aggression, the liturgical atmosphere and blackened elegance of VI's music. Featuring four lengthy songs, De Praestigiis doesn't have the inherent weirdness of, say, Derathspell Omega, but tracks like "Je Me Dresse Devant Le Trône Et J'Attends Mon Jugement En Crachant Sur Le Livre De Vie" and "Il N'Y A Pas De Repos Ni Le Jour Ni La Nuit Pour Ceux Qui Ont Adoré La Bête Et Son Image Et Pour Quiconque A Reçu La Marque De Son Nom" (jesus christ, is that a mouthful...) are resplendent in ornate chords and majestic discordance, vicious black metal riffs tearing out of moody atmospheric passages like a pack of ravenous dogs, with some of the best songwriting on a black metal album I've heard lately. And there's the eerie choir voices and strange monastic chants that appear all over the Ep, heavenly androgynous voices rising up into the clouds, their hymns standing in stark contrast with the furious, intricate black metal, especially when the metal drops out entirely and we're left to float through the ether on those terrifying, lilting voices.
This killer Ep of French devil-worship comes in full color packaging and is limited to 300 copies.
Track Samples:
Sample : VI-De Praestigiis Daemonum
Sample : VI-De Praestigiis Daemonum
Sample : VI-De Praestigiis Daemonum



VLAD TEPES   War Funeral March   CD   (Drakkar Productions)    14.98

War Funeral March IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

The handful of releases that French black metallers Vlad Tepes put out back in the 90s have gone in and out of print over the years, usually only appearing in some new limited edition release for a moment before selling out, but now we've finally gotten these classic discs of noisy LLN blackness in stock via the new Drakkar reissues, and I've been playing the hell out of 'em. A key player in the now legendary Les Légions Noires, Vlad Tepes were one of the more straightforward sounding bands to come out of this loosely-knit black metal scene that emerged in France in the early 90s (and which also featured the likes of Mütiilation, Belkètre, Moëvöt, Susvourtre, Vèrmyapre Kommando, and Torgeist), though when we're talking about any of the bands that were part of the LLN, even the more traditional sounding bands still sounded plenty fucked-up and chaotic. And like almost all of the LLN bands, Vlad Tepes were only around for a brief time, releasing a handful of cassettes and splits between 1994 and 1996, but their stuff has been avidly sought after by fans of weird black metal ever since.
The first official Vlad Tepes release was the 1994 War Funeral March cassette, a five-song assault of swarming grimy black metal that succeeded in crafting a weird, feral atmosphere in spite of the thin, low-fi production. The band's paper-thin guitars are coated with a black crust of distortion, but man, the riffs are majestic, dark magisterial riffs spiked with ugly dissonance and strange noises; guitar solos are scarce, but when they do appear, they come screaming out of the gloom, blasts of crazed shredding. The drums are buried way back in the mix, racing along at galloping d-beat tempos or slipping into off-kilter rocking tempos, sometimes dissolving into the blackened blur almost totally, and the vocals are pretty psychotic, erupting into howling screams and garbled shrieks, his voice possessed with this strained, gasping quality that adds to their sick edge. These songs are noisy and deformed but often very catchy, songs like "Walachian Tyrant" revealing these killer super-catchy hooks that'll sink their dirty talons into your frontal lobe. The lyrics and song titles on War Funeral evoke scenes of ancient European battlegrounds, the soil black with blood, and the whole recording is possessed with this strange, unique atmosphere that is particular to the LLN crowd.
The last four songs on the disc come from one of Vlad Tepes's early rehearsal tapes from '93, and unsurprisingly offers a rotten, ragged no-fi recording steeped in frenzied basement malevolence; wouldn't you know that these are my favorite songs on the disc. These jam-room recordings are as vicious as the demo, with blazing heavy metal riffs and scorched screams cloaked in hissy blackness, with a couple of riffs that wouldn't have been out of place on an old Judas Priest album.
Awesome noisy French black metal that might have been more at home on some moldy old cassette tape, but I'll take it however I can get it; this along with all of the other recent Vlad Tepes reissues on Drakkar are highly recommended for fans of the eccentric Black Legions sound.
Track Samples:
Sample : VLAD TEPES-War Funeral March
Sample : VLAD TEPES-War Funeral March
Sample : VLAD TEPES-War Funeral March



VLAD TEPES   Morte Lune   CD   (Drakkar Productions)    14.98

Morte Lune IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

The handful of releases that French black metallers Vlad Tepes put out back in the 90s have gone in and out of print over the years, usually only appearing in some new limited edition release for a moment before selling out, but now we've finally gotten these classic discs of noisy LLN blackness in stock via the new Drakkar reissues, and I've been playing the hell out of 'em. A key player in the now legendary Les Légions Noires, Vlad Tepes were one of the more straightforward sounding bands to come out of this loosely-knit black metal scene that emerged in France in the early 90s (and which also featured the likes of Mütiilation, Belkètre, Moëvöt, Susvourtre, Vèrmyapre Kommando, and Torgeist), though when we're talking about any of the bands that were part of the LLN, even the more traditional sounding bands still sounded plenty fucked-up and chaotic. And like almost all of the LLN bands, Vlad Tepes were only around for a brief time, releasing a handful of cassettes and splits between 1994 and 1996, but their stuff has been avidly sought after by fans of weird black metal ever since.
Aside from some of the rehearsal tracks that have been included on some of the Vlad Tepes reissue Cds, the Morte Lune recording from 1997 is probably the most low-fi and fucked-up sounding of all of this duo's recordings, a super blown out 4-track production job that sounds like it's been rotting away all these years since this stuff first appeared on cassette back in the mid-to-late 90s. All throughout these ten songs, the sound encounters sudden drop-outs or jarring volume swells, and one probably should have at least somewhat of a taste for extremely low-fi, noise-damaged black metal to appreciate these recordings. Its ferocious, ugly stuff though, and as with everything else that Vlad Tepes released, there are some ripping songs buried under all of the hiss and static and mangled production. Morte Lune has some of their most unhinged material, chaotic tracks like "Bleedings" and "I Died From A Vampiric Grief" sounding so blown out and murky that they start to approach the sort of maniacal violence one would expect out of an Enbilulugugal recording, while the doom-laden crush and raw blackened hatred of "Warmoon Lord" gets started with some Frostian riffage and stumbling rhythms before the band veers into a weirdly poppy hook. Songs like "L'Envol Du Corbeau" are carved out of more traditional black metal forms, but they'e in the minority; "The Dark War" is another one of their punk-infested rippers, galloping thrashing power that taps into an almost Motorhead-esque fury even as gobs of hissing static completely envelop the band, while "I Died From A Vampiric Grief" almost sounds like some ancient hardcore band trying to do a Venom jam and completely fucking it up before going into another one of those bizarre poppy major key riffs. The weirdest moments on Morte Lune, though, come from a couple of experimental tracks: the bizarre ambient dirge "Morts" is one, where simple doom-laden bass guitar riff plods beneath layered vocal noises, monstrous belching and gaseous gargling screams, producing this abstract, vomitous Abruptum-esque mess, and the insane shred-mess and demonic vomit splatter of "Meurtres" that staggers around in similar brain-damaged territory, having more in common with the bizarre LLN ambience of Vzaéurvbtre, Moevot and Susvourtre.
Awesome noisy French black metal that might have been more at home on some moldy old cassette tape, but I'll take it however I can get it; this along with all of the other recent Vlad Tepes reissues on Drakkar are highly recommended for fans of the eccentric Black Legions sound.
Track Samples:
Sample : VLAD TEPES-Morte Lune
Sample : VLAD TEPES-Morte Lune
Sample : VLAD TEPES-Morte Lune
Sample : VLAD TEPES-Morte Lune



VLAD TEPES / BELKETRE   March To The Black Holocaust   CD   (Drakkar Productions)    14.98

March To The Black Holocaust IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

The handful of releases that French black metallers Vlad Tepes put out back in the 90s have gone in and out of print over the years, usually only appearing in some new limited edition release for a moment before selling out, but now we've finally gotten these classic discs of noisy LLN blackness in stock via the new Drakkar reissues, and I've been playing the hell out of 'em. A key player in the now legendary Les Légions Noires, Vlad Tepes were one of the more straightforward sounding bands to come out of this loosely-knit black metal scene that emerged in France in the early 90s (and which also featured the likes of Mütiilation, Belkètre, Moëvöt, Susvourtre, Vèrmyapre Kommando, and Torgeist), though when we're talking about any of the bands that were part of the LLN, even the more traditional sounding bands still sounded plenty fucked-up and chaotic. And like almost all of the LLN bands, Vlad Tepes were only around for a brief time, releasing a handful of cassettes and splits between 1994 and 1996, but their stuff has been avidly sought after by fans of weird black metal ever since.
The extremely rare 1995 split March To The Black Holocaust featured Vlad Tepes teaming up with another LLN band, Belketre, making this another highly sought-after recording from the Black Legions underground. On their side, Vlad Tepes delivered a bunch of songs that had previously appeared on their earlier demo/rehearsal recordings; the duo open with the weird folk-flecked shanty "Wladimir's March", a short instrumental track that starts off their side with a super catchy Burzumic hook before hurtling into the blown-out swarming violence of "Massacre Song From The Devastated Lands". As with their debut, the sound here is ultra distorted and completely in the fuckin' red, the guitars pushed into serious treble overload, but somehow never overwhelming the catchy melodic riffs. Touches of discordance give the music an added evil edge along with the frog-croak vocals and heavy sheen of low-fi sonic filth; there's a ripping version of "In Holocaust To The Natural Darkness" that first showed up on a filthy rehearsal recording (featured on the Cd reissue of their first demo), but here it sounds even more ferocious, and the song "Diabolical Reaps" is the nastiest dose of rabid blackened punk that Vlad Tepes ever recorded. Another favorite included here is the majestic "Drink The Poetry Of The Celtic Disciple"; its a masterpiece of hateful, magisterial low-fi black metal, with a series of riffs that most modern downer-BM outfits would KILL for - in fact, this song was later covered by Codeine's Chris Brokaw on his solo album Canaris, weirdly enough.
Another incestuous Black Legions project, Belkètre featured members of Torgeist, Brenoritvrezorkre, Susvourtre and Moëvöt, and hearing these tracks will be a revelation for newcomers to their maniacal black metal. The eight songs that make up Belkètre's side are short, savage blasts of ultra blown-out, tinny blackened riffage that wobble in and out of tune, a discordant swarming chaos spiked with moments of weird, alien ambience (like those warped funeral tones that drift off the murky guitars on "Hate" and give way to monstrous gurgling vocal noises, or the nightmare drift that permeates "Despair"). They almost make the Vlad Tepes side sound sane in comparison. The songs erupt into super chaotic tangles of messy blastbeating drums and white-noise guitars, awesome unhinged guitar solos and bestial vocalizations, the vocals sometimes changing over into strange chanting not unlike the quasi-spoken word parts on the Von and Sixx demos, the droning bass pretty much the only thing keeping the music from completely breaking apart. This stuff is fucking amazing, one of the harshest and most lunatic of all the LLN related bands.
Awesome noisy French black metal that might have been more at home on some moldy old cassette tape, but I'll take it however I can get it; this along with all of the other recent Vlad Tepes reissues on Drakkar are highly recommended for fans of the eccentric Black Legions sound.
Track Samples:
Sample : VLAD TEPES / BELKETRE-March To The Black Holocaust
Sample : VLAD TEPES / BELKETRE-March To The Black Holocaust
Sample : VLAD TEPES / BELKETRE-March To The Black Holocaust
Sample : VLAD TEPES / BELKETRE-March To The Black Holocaust



WOLOK   Caput Mortuum   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98



Originally released on Cd by Those Opposed and now issued on limited-edition cassette by Infernal Kommando, Caput Mortuum is the second album from this gang of French black metal mutants that features Luc from fucked-up necropunk thrash outfit Zarach'Baal'Tharagh. Not sure how this compares to Wolok's first album as I haven't had a chance to hear that yet, but Caput Mortuum is a fantastic blast of alien black metal that is one of the strangest of it's kind to come out of the French underground in the past few years. The band's approach to black metal is quite warped, with warped dissonant riffs, mangled synthesizer tones, and in-the-red blackened vocals combined with a unique form of chaos that makes their songs sound completely off-kilter and deformed.
The album kicks off with the weird processed chanting and slimy minor chords of "Bacterium Dei" that leads into some incredibly fucked-up dissonant and choppy riffing and sputtering double bass mayhem that is almost Gorguts-like, but laced with these wonky atonal guitar leads and heavily distorted shrieking vocals. Then it makes an abrupt shift into an eerie droning chug, cold and post-punk-esque but seriously heavy and sinister, then changing once again into a lurching, halting un-groove, the vocals getting more crazed and unpredictable, the guitars more atonal and warped, then erupting into manic blasting and more of those warped, processed chants. As you continue into Caput Mortuum, the band refuses to let up on the weirdness, continuing on through more atonal doom-laden dirges and noisy, angular riffs, wonky leads and layers of skronk that are all bathed in some serious effects abuse, with this thick sheen of chorus effects over everything on the album. Riffs contort into bizarre blackened carnival melodies. Blasting chaos reforms into strangely beautiful waltzing riffage while metallic ringing sounds in the background. Evocative melodies are uncoiled beneath the wonky fractured black metal. The drums surge from jagged rhythms into an almost industrialized militant pummel. Gregorian chants and the looped sounds of women screaming emerge out of clouds of shimmering synth.
This has turned into one of my favorite French black metal albums since it came in to the shop, sitting comfortably next to likeminded black metal mutants like Otargos, Spektr, Deathspell Omega, Blut Aus Nord, S.V.E.S.T., and Diapsiquir. Anyone into warped, dissonant black metal weirdness should pick this up immediately.
Track Samples:
Sample : WOLOK-Caput Mortuum
Sample : WOLOK-Caput Mortuum
Sample : WOLOK-Caput Mortuum



ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH   The Nightmares Continues   CDR   (Infernal Kommando)    9.98

The Nightmares Continues IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

This nightmare of putrescent psychedelic spew released in 2007 from French basement-blackmetal mutant Zarach Baal Tharagh may be a bit more structured than some of those utterly fucked cassette releases of his that we got in stock a few weeks back, but this is still completely brain-damaged black metal and blackened noise that's rotten to the core. Titled The Nightmare Continues and featuring "Demo #57" from Luc Mertz's (aka Zarach'Baal'Tharagh, natch) archives. When does this guy sleep?
Eleven tracks labeled simply #334-#344 that run the gamut of ZBT's mongoloid necro attack, starting with a brief bit of ghostly groans, metallic clatter, and weird industrial ambience that soon gives way to a gnarly low-fi thrash metal assault, huge blasting drums and primitive, nay, brain-damaged blackpunk riffing and those reverb-drenched vomit vocals give this a semblance of being actual black metal for a minute or so, but then devolves into a weird almost no-wave dirge as Mertz's starts strangling his guitar and coughing up chunks of lung matter, then - BLAM - the blastbeats erupt again for a second, then the music lurches into a mangled stop/start rock groove before totally falling apart into a heap at the end. The next track is pure murky black ambience, hissing drones and effects-baked chanting floating around in a collapsing cathedral, then kicks into the insane blackpunk frenzy of "Nightmare #337", which sounds like an even sloppier than usual Darkthrone jam with those swooping pterodactly shrieks off of the first Fleurety demo. Halfway through, Mertz starts splattering the song with insane in-the-red soloing, and then, as usual, collapses into stumbling noise rock at the end.
The rest of the album follows the pattern of alternating grisly industrial tableaus with mangled low-fi blackpunk. Some of the tracks sound like Wolf Eyes or Throbbing Gristle slowed down to 4 bpm, or processionals of trolls performing Gregorian chants at the bottom of a cistern, or the droning wail of air-raid sirens muffled by the horrified screams of your neighbors and the down pillow you have pulled over your head...while the black "metal" tracks are all equally damaged and sloppy and mind-bending, making early Beherit sound like fucking Dragonforce in comparison. Of course, I think this stuff is KILLER, especially whenever Mertz decided to "rock out" and the song lurchers into this bizarre bluesy rock or old school pub-punk with hilariously tuneless soloing that is obviously insanely out of place coming right after a hyperspeed blast of sub-Darkthrone thrash. Goddammit, I love this band. So will you if yer into the crazed and demented black metal weirdness of Furze, Striborg, Defuntos, Wormsblood, Alkerdeel, Raw Hatred and Tjolgtjar.


ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH   Porn Of The Dead/Hate/Lunatic Improvised Rehearsal   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98



We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
The bulk of the cassettes that we got from Infernal Kommando are from that one man black metal project known as Zarach'Baal'Tharagh. I found out about Zarach'Baal'Tharagh after we picked up that collection of demos that At War With False Noise put out on cd a while back, and ever since then I've been looking for more of ZBT's utterly brain-damaged primitive black metal psychosis. The guy behind ZBT, Luc Mertz, has got to be one of the most prolific loner black metallers ever; according to Metal-archives.com, he's up to eighty demos as of this moment, with more surely on the way, and whats really wild is that so far everything that I've heard from this self-described " French master of bedroom black metal" has been amazing (and amazingly bizarre). This is exactly the sort of uber-fucked stumbling low-fi black metal mess that fans (like myself) of Furze, Striborg, Defuntos, Wormsblood, Alkerdeel, Raw Hatred and Tjolgtjar lust for.
This cassette is a collections of a couple of different Zarach'Baal'Tharagh that had previously been released. Collected here are the Porn Of The Dead demo, the Hate cassette, and the Lunatic Improvised Rehearsal, all originally released between 2006 and 2007. The Porn Of The Dead material consists of siix tracks of some of the most far-out and noise damaged ZBT material that I've heard so far, which is really saying something. Actually, these tracks are only marginally "black metal" - there's minimal mosquito riffing and weird flanged-out screaming, but it's all smothered in harsh oscillating tones, murky Abruptum-esque dungeon clatter, and orgasmic groans and cricket-like chirping looped into surreal, bestial soundscapes. Way closer to low-fi industrial soundscapes than anything resembling black metal.
The Hate demo is actually the same tracks that appeared on the split with blacknoize thrashers DOG (whose 3" CD on Autopsy Kitchen we just reviwed/listed in last week's new arrivals list). Again, this stuff is more like some kind of psychedelic blacknoise industrial freakout than "metal", with six tracks of raw, repetitious deformed riffing and meandering Butthole Surfers-like acid guitar over murky black ambience, samples and field recordings, tortured screams and looped moaning, clanging minimal percussion...it's alot like Abruptum, but steeped in an ultra lo-fi cruddiness that sounds like someone recorded a bunch of awesome black metal thrash riffs over a disintegrating RRRecords noise cassette on a malfunctioning ghetto blaster. I'm not going near this stuff again until I've managed to get my hands on some choice blotter...
On the flipside, the Lunatic Improvised Rehearsal stuff is equally freaked. Despite it's title these tracks really don't sound any more improvised than anything else that ZBT has released, but I'll take his word for it. It starts off with "Lunacy", an almost a capella nigtmare of raging thrash riffs and choked super-distorted screams that cycle over an empty, drumless void, then moves on to the noisy Motorhead-like jam "Unfriendly" that suddenly turns toxic when the guitar plummets out of tune fifteen seconds in as those insane reptilian shrieks swoop overhead. The rest of these seven tracks likewise tread between gnarly repetitious blackened punk riffs and stumbling midpaced drumming and more abstract blacknoise wig-outs, at times remind me of a cross between Abruptum and a tenth-generation bootleg Bone Awl cassette that someone just peeled off the bottom of a dumpster.
Track Samples:
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Porn Of The Dead/Hate/Lunatic Improvised Rehearsal
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Porn Of The Dead/Hate/Lunatic Improvised Rehearsal



ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH   Metal Bastard   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98



We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
The bulk of the cassettes that we got from Infernal Kommando are from that one man black metal project known as Zarach'Baal'Tharagh. I found out about Zarach'Baal'Tharagh after we picked up that collection of demos that At War With False Noise put out on cd a while back, and ever since then I've been looking for more of ZBT's utterly brain-damaged primitive black metal psychosis. The guy behind ZBT, Luc Mertz, has got to be one of the most prolific loner black metallers ever; according to Metal-archives.com, he's up to eighty demos as of this moment, with more surely on the way, and whats really wild is that so far everything that I've heard from this self-described " French master of bedroom black metal" has been amazing (and amazingly bizarre). This is exactly the sort of uber-fucked stumbling low-fi black metal mess that fans (like myself) of Furze, Striborg, Defuntos, Wormsblood, Alkerdeel, Raw Hatred and Tjolgtjar lust for.
I'm a big fan of ZBT's damaged black metal slop, both the noisy industrial-laced blacknoise experiments and the more riff-centric retardo blackthrash stuff, but it's when Zarach'Baal'Tharagh launches into the noxious, gnarly blackened punk that this one-man black metal band really rages. This 2006 cassette on Infernal Kommando is the most blackpunk-focused of all of the ZBT tapes that we just picked up from them, a six song collection ("Dark City", "Suck Your Bone", "Metal Bastard", "Hellmaster", "From Beyond", "Deadly Pale Face") that pays homage to Motorhead through raw, stumbling midpaced gruesomeness that combines simple three and four chord riffs with those distant trashcan drums and Luc Mertz's fucked up slobbering growls and swooping reptile screams, sounding alot like a totally drunk and wasted Venom recorded on a busted Tandy tape deck. Beneath the roiling tape hiss and the skummy sheen of the shitty production, this stuff is raging, definitely for fans of the really mangled end of the current wave of blackened noisepunk bands like Malveillance and Bone Awl and Ancestors. This being Zarach'Baal'Tharagh, there's alos lots of weirdness going on, swells of psychedelic fx, vocals warped into tea-kettle whistles, deep chanting that kinda sounds like Tuvan throat singing, weird dissonant chords, and lots of hideous blackened noise. It's the most "rocking" of all of the ZBT tapes we have though, that's for sure.
Track Samples:
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Metal Bastard
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Metal Bastard



ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH   Real Life Evil Dream   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98



We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
The bulk of the cassettes that we got from Infernal Kommando are from that one man black metal project known as Zarach'Baal'Tharagh. I found out about Zarach'Baal'Tharagh after we picked up that collection of demos that At War With False Noise put out on cd a while back, and ever since then I've been looking for more of ZBT's utterly brain-damaged primitive black metal psychosis. The guy behind ZBT, Luc Mertz, has got to be one of the most prolific loner black metallers ever; according to Metal-archives.com, he's up to eighty demos as of this moment, with more surely on the way, and whats really wild is that so far everything that I've heard from this self-described " French master of bedroom black metal" has been amazing (and amazingly bizarre). This is exactly the sort of uber-fucked stumbling low-fi black metal mess that fans (like myself) of Furze, Striborg, Defuntos, Wormsblood, Alkerdeel, Raw Hatred and Tjolgtjar lust for.
Real Life Evil Dream is demo number forty-three from Zarach'Baal'Tharagh, and if you've heard anything else from this mutant, you know what to expect here. Twelve tracks that lean towards a more straightforward black metal sound at times, with simple buzzsaw riffing and junkyard drums clattering together in unholy blasts of noxious necro-punk. There's plenty of that trademark ZBT weirdness here though too, for sure. Songs are prefaced by long stretches of murky industrial noise and distant thunderous loops, and those insane swooping pterodactyl screams appear out of nowhere, sometimes showing up in the middle of a passage of almost total silence. There are loads of samples here too, strange field recordings and grunt-like vocal sounds, free-noise percussive meltdowns, recordings of breaking glass in some dark alleyway, weird unidentifiable noises, clusters of chaotic fx, abd lots of other strange aural hallucinations that swirl around these tracks. Another dose of demented outsider necro-psych genius!
Track Samples:
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Real Life Evil Dream
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Real Life Evil Dream



ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH   Voodoo   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98

Voodoo IS CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE FOR ORDER

I know that I'm a minority, but I fucking love this one-man band from French weirdo Luc Mertz. I've only scratched the surface of what he's recorded under the name Zarach'Baal'Tharagh (the band has released hundreds of tapes over the years, going back to the 90s), but everything that I have listened to so far I've enjoyed greatly. Yes, the music is sloppy and primitive to the point of sounding totally inept, a kind of brain-damaged blackened punk that makes bands like Malveillance and Sexdrome sound like prog rock. Yes, the songs are all built out of the same set of four chords. But there's no denying the violent, psychotic energy that is emitted from ZBT's French necropunk weirdness. This five song tape is the most recent offering from Zarach'Baal'Tharagh that I've been able to get for C-Blast, and it's fucking great. The tape opens with a weird intro that starts with some nationalistic French orchestral music, horns and strings and booming tympani, but then the drums drop in and start playing along with the recording, a simple pounding punk beat synching up with the orchestra. And then it plunges into the filth; the title track is a plodding sub-Venom blast of blackened punk insanity with awesome high pitched screams and mangled guitar, the playing just tight enough to keep everything from collapsing into a total car wreck, but constantly teeters right on the edge of raw and raucous slop. All of the songs are in this vein, primitive low fi black thrash with some KILLER rocking riffs and those trademark psychotic squiggly guitar solos and random guitar noise splattered all over, with the chugging brain-damaged blackthrash of "Necessary Evil" being one of my favorites on the tape, alongside the ripping blackened hardcore of "Terror Of Sleep Paralysis" that sounds more like some mid-80s Midwestern US hardcore band than anything from the French BM scene. It wraps up with an outro that again mashes together an older recording of a triumphant French symphony merged with the sounds of crashing fighter planes and mortar blasts and those pounding distorted punk drums. Very weird, but that's no surprise. Released in a limited edition of two hundred fifty copies.


ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH   Skull Face Exhumations   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98



We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
The bulk of the cassettes that we got from Infernal Kommando are from that one man black metal project known as Zarach'Baal'Tharagh. I found out about Zarach'Baal'Tharagh after we picked up that collection of demos that At War With False Noise put out on cd a while back, and ever since then I've been looking for more of ZBT's utterly brain-damaged primitive black metal psychosis. The guy behind ZBT, Luc Mertz, has got to be one of the most prolific loner black metallers ever; according to Metal-archives.com, he's up to eighty demos as of this moment, with more surely on the way, and whats really wild is that so far everything that I've heard from this self-described " French master of bedroom black metal" has been amazing (and amazingly bizarre). This is exactly the sort of uber-fucked stumbling low-fi black metal mess that fans (like myself) of Furze, Striborg, Defuntos, Wormsblood, Alkerdeel, Raw Hatred and Tjolgtjar lust for.
Here's "demo 49" in ZBT's colossal catalog of cassettes, a twenty-two track tape titled Skull Face Exhumations that was released in 2006 on Infernal Kommando. Each track is referred to as an "Exhumation", and these are some of ZBT's harshest recordings - skuzzy, super low-fi bursts of damaged atonal black metal riffing and screeching reptilian vocals over shambling blastbeats that are buried way back in the mix, a minimal barely-perceptible clang like someone's banging on a couple of oil drums half a mile away while insanely out-of-tune blackened riffs loop over and over. This stuff is then alternated with passages of pure old school industrial noise in the form of warbling feedback loops, clanking machine rhythms obscured by layers of grime and tape murk, swooping oscillator freakouts, and other weird electronic noises. Like some of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh's other tapes, this has the feel of hearing some diseased nth generation black metal demo taped over an old RRRecords noise cassette, the nauseous riffs and ridiculous high-pitched screams (almost like the bizarre pterodactyl screams from the old Fleurety demo) enmeshed with creepy minimal machine sounds and corroded aural grit.
Track Samples:
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Skull Face Exhumations



ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH   Eternal Darkness   CD   (At War With False Noise)    9.98



The first black metal album to be released on At War With False Noise, and as would be expected, it's a weird one. Sounding like the gutteral expectorant of a Cthulhu high priest, Zarach'Baal'Tharagh is a French black metaller that has been releasing a ridiculously massive body of work over the past few years; I checked out one list of his recordings online and it looks like the guy has self-released something like fifty-nine demos under the ZBT name, with more on the way. This uber-prolific approach to home recording actually reaches back to the early 1980's, when the guy behind ZBT was doing an early home-taped bedroom metal project called Skull Face that started in 1983! As Zarach'Baal'Tharagh, though, the sound is total black metal, albeit of the most damaged, stumbling and noisy variety. This full length CD is a collection of out-of-print demo tracks, and all of this stuff is raw, ultra ULTRA low fi black metal, divided into three sections: the Primitive Era demo is four tracks of shambolic black blurr, heavily reverbed guitar mixed way up front with repetitious dirgey riffs, a drum machine that sounds surprisingly natural blasting away chaotically in the background, and harsh noisy vocals that come out a total blurr of hiss and distortion. The Apocalypse demo starts and ends with weird psychedelic synth pieces, but in between it's an insane black metal clusterfuck. These songs are almost totally drowned in reverb and sound like they could well be improvised. Everything is covered in reverb, the guitars, vocals, drums, everything, the drums are so spaced out that they barely sound like drumbeats at all, riffs go totally nowhere, songs just seem to uncoil at random. It's fucking awesome if you've got a taste for ultra bizarre, fucked up and dubby black metal noise....imagine an even noisier, low-fi version of Abruptum playing primitive blackthrash. And the guitar soloing on some of these songs, like the appropriately titled "Chaos" are beyond insane.
The last third of this collection features the El Borak demo, and again the tone of the music changes somewhat. There's a higher concept at work here, with the songs titled "El Borak", "El Borak Pact", "El Borak Nightmare Uncut", and "El Borak Outro", but I have no idea what the story is there. These songs do, however, rip my face off with riff after glorious riff of PCP fueled blackened thrash over an almost nonexistent drum machine - seriously, it's buried s low that these almost sound like guitar instrumentals - all the while ZBT shreds his formless, in-the-red solos into infinity.
It's inept and ferocious, filthy and furious, a total catastrophe of recording technique and song structure, and total genius. Zarach'Baal'Tharagh charts the formerly invisible lines connecting the deranged outsider black metal of Tjolgtjar and Striborg and the tremelo slicing reverb-seas of the infamous Les Legiones Noires.
Track Samples:
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Eternal Darkness
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Eternal Darkness
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Eternal Darkness



ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH   Dementia   CASSETTE   (Infernal Kommando)    5.98



We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
The bulk of the cassettes that we got from Infernal Kommando are from that one man black metal project known as Zarach'Baal'Tharagh. I found out about Zarach'Baal'Tharagh after we picked up that collection of demos that At War With False Noise put out on cd a while back, and ever since then I've been looking for more of ZBT's utterly brain-damaged primitive black metal psychosis. The guy behind ZBT, Luc Mertz, has got to be one of the most prolific loner black metallers ever; according to Metal-archives.com, he's up to eighty demos as of this moment, with more surely on the way, and whats really wild is that so far everything that I've heard from this self-described " French master of bedroom black metal" has been amazing (and amazingly bizarre). This is exactly the sort of uber-fucked stumbling low-fi black metal mess that fans (like myself) of Furze, Striborg, Defuntos, Wormsblood, Alkerdeel, Raw Hatred and Tjolgtjar lust for.
This 2006 cassette is the 38th "demo' from this uber-cult French black metal project, and it's as damaged and inebraited as the rest of the Zarach'Baal'Tharagh catalog. A single song titled "Dementia" that stretches out for more than 46 minutes, recorded low fi and skuzzy, the primtive recording swamped in murky production and tape hiss, but underneath all of that skuzz is a constantly evolving black metal epic that moves from abstract out-of-tune black dirge to punky mid-paced thrash, sprawling filthy ambience and ripping psychedelic leads, with Zarach'Baal'Tharagh mastermind Luc Mertz unleashing his oddball mix of pterodactyl screams and gargling vocals over it all. It's as if there are twenty different songs in here all glommed together into a single stinking pile of brain-damaged bedroom black metal. The recording sounds like it was probably mostly improvised, and the music meanders from one part to another, but as messy and chaotic and whacked out as this most definitely is, the genius of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh also means that the riffs are killer, the atmosphere is truly diseased, and listening to this black-psych epic is like crawling through an infernal scrapyard of slow dreamlike dirge, messed-up psychedelic leads and vocals that almost sound like Gibby Haynes from Butthole Surfers at times, stumbling blackpunk hypnosis, vast pits of reverby vocal noise and overloaded FX, everything clouded by the murky low-fi production but when it slips into one of those blackened grooves, it's fucking awesome.
Track Samples:
Sample : ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH-Dementia



ZARACH'BAAL'THARAGH / THE DEAD MUSICIAN   split   LP   (213 Records)    14.98



You've heard it here before a hundred times over: When it comes to black metal, nobody does it like the French. Just flip through the Crucial Blast webstore - you'll find a shitload of my infatuated rambling over the sleek, dissonant avant-garde black metal of bands like Deathspell Omega and the warped industrial weirdness of Blut Aus Nord and Spektr. So many of these French black metal bands have becoming pretty well known outside of their homeland over the past couple of years too, but there's another, lesser known corner of the French black metal underground, a slimy underside that you only find if you turn the rock over, a small cadre of bands rooted in a down and dirty bedroom-grade recording aesthetic, a punky primitive DIY rawness and some truly bizarre self-created mythologies that these weirdos tend to follow straight into a state of dementia. Nuit Noire for instance, the fairy-obsessed werirdos who refer to themselves as "Faerical blasting blackened punk" and sound like a grim, blastbeat ridden version of Rudimentary Peni. And then there is Zarach'Baal'Tharagh, a one-man black metal project who plays some of the most fucked-up, damaged low-fi black metal I've ever heard, who I first discovered on that CD of demo tracks that At war With False Noise put out a while back. This tongue-knotting band has produced a ridiculous number of demo cassettes for more than a decade, obsessively documenting his brand of incredibly noxious, nihilistic black metal slop that goes way beyond brain-damage...if yer into the whole ultra-zonked, fucked up and damaged black metal aesthetic that we champion around here, bands like Tjolgtjar, Furze, Striborg, Alkerdeel, Bone Awl, Ancestors, etc., etc., then you really need to hear this shit. I couldnt wait to get this LP with Zarach'Baal'Tharagh in when 213 Productions told me about it, but that's just half of it - the mighty ZBT shares this slab with another French band called The Dead Musician, who I've never heard of previously and to be honest wasn't expecting much from the goofy band name, but this band turns out to be just as crazed as ZBT, another blast of French whatthefuck blackness that is right at home alongside ZBT's crude blackened mayhem!
The ZBT side opens this up with a single massive track that rolls out for more than 22 minutes, a sprawling psychedelic mess that first takes form as a furious blizzard of sloppy, relentless blastbeats beneath a swirling miasma of fx-drenched hissing, reverb, out of tune riffing, sickly hammered notes, and thick smears of black fuzz. Everything falls apart soon enough, the drums collapsing into a midpaced dirge, dissonant guitar shred flying everywhere, tons of NOISE, those atonal riffs falling apart and coming back together, sometimes forming into skronky punk riffs that sound like Greg Ginn jamming over Abruptum, the drumming veering wildly between a steady throbbing pulse and free-for-all clatter, often just disappearing completely. There are guitar leads everywhere, noodling in and around the doomy splatter and nauseous noisy fug, surrounded by high pitched keening, low-fi murk, retarded stop-start riffing, twisted rhythmic logic, and melting amplifiers. If you think Furze is trippy, get a load of this. Seriously wasted, psychedelic black metal weirdness. This track is titled "Demo 42: The Final Chapter", and first appeared on cassette a couple of years ago. Seriously, Greg Ginn + Abruptum + Quaaludes = total mindfuck.
Like ZBT, The Dead Musician is a French one man band playing extremely low-fi homemade black metal, but instead of an evil demonic figure crouched in a lightless corner of his bedroom crafting bizarre, shapeless black metal epics and occultic psych-noise rituals, The Dead Musician is just a guy named Jeff who plays guitar, uses drum machines and handles all of the vocals to create what he calls "anarcho black punk metal". And this stuff is definitely pretty punk, definitely raw and primitive, and filtered through a twisted song structure logic. The three tracks on his side of the record combine pounding industrial drums and tinny hyperfast blastbeats, discordant guitar shred and doomy riffs, thrashy blackpunk parts and weird fretboard runs that synch up with clusterbomb drum machine blasts. It's kind of like a gnarlier, industrial-tinged Furze maybe, damaged and chaotic, with some killer rocking riffs but totally fucked up atonal solos, Sabbath riffs twisted into angular shapes, and harsh croaking vocals. The last song is a cover of Mayhem's "Freezing Moon", filtered through the cracked prism of The Dead Musician's deranged outsider black metal and splattered with some seriously wonky lead guitar action. Total freakout.
This is limited to 333 copies - the covers all have slightly bent corners, as thats how they arrived here when they were shipped over from France, but the jackets are otherwise fine.

  




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