Northern Isolation


Frostbitten Lord of the Nefarious Shadow Vinterlands
07/21/2011, 4:09 PM
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

I like making up titles. This one has a lot of recent self-released demos, some of which are worth checking out. Links to the good shit below.

Heavy Cross-Demo

Country: USA (CA)

Label: Holy Throat

Year: 2011

I’m deeply torn over this release. I feel like this band has a good sense of where they want to be going musically. Whether or not they hit their mark is a completely different story. They are one of a handful of black metal/punk hybrid bands that have crossed my path, not many of which I have felt enthusiastic about. As much promise as I feel this band has, I cannot say they are an exception. This record has about 1:18 worth of solid material, the rest of which is questionable at best. It doesn’t help that the final minute of the first track is nothing but feedback. Now, sound experimentation is something I often appreciate. But this isn’t experimentation. Somebody forget to stop recording. The 2nd track has a sound that feels like it’s going to bust out at any second and shred faces. But guess what? It doesn’t. The same plodding drum beat holds steady until about 2:20 in, when it switches to something only half a BPM above midpace. It sounds like they might have been trying to go for a sort of Disfear thing but (and I may never say this again) their drummer really needs to go listen to a few more Discharge records (ok, that felt weird). And unfortunately, after that, we’ve run out of songs. If this demo was longer, perhaps my opinion would have been different but these two tracks are a shitty way to represent your band.

2/5

Заводь-Ритуал

Country: Ukraine (Kharkiv)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011

For all you people who aren’t hip with the Cyrillic alphabet, this band’s name is pronounced “Za-vod” and the album is, for some unknown reason, a Ukranian transliteration of “Ritual”. I found out about this band through a blog promoting RABM (Red and Anarcho Black Metal) which to me seems very stupid. Politics in Black Metal are a dangerous game, just take a look at all the bands that take a vehemently National Socialist stance with their music? How many of those bands suck? The sword swings both ways. But this is all irrelevant. What is relevant is this record, which fucking slays. The biggest shock on this record is track 3 (called “III”). All of a sudden, they sound like black metal’s answer to Alkaline Trio. This was a welcome surprise, considering the amount of blasting monotonous black metal I have to hear all the fucking time because of this blog. Automatic win. There must be something in the water in Kharkiv.

4/5

Marnost-Pukajici Svet

Country: Czech Republic

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011

Eastern Europe is more brutal than anyone reading this blog can come up with. All that time living under the oppressive yolk of various socialist dictatorships who were themselves under the yolk of the Soviet Union’s stern eye made everybody living east of the Iron Curtain insane forever. This leads us awkwardly to Marnost. Marnost is from the Czech Republic. Marnost doesn’t have a label behind them. Information on Marnost is hard to come by and this record comes to me because they were giving it away on their bandcamp page (where Marnost declares that their link should not be posted on the same website as NSBM. Does that rule me out? At least I gave that Argentinian comp the worst review possible). This band breaks a lot of my rules but somehow manages to validate themselves in doing so. Samples? Check. ABM cliches? Check. Imposing veganism? Czech (get it?). All things considered, this recording, made in a rehearsal room over the course of a few hours, manages to keep its individuality. Nicely done, Czech BM Hippies.

4/5

Vinter Nebulah-s/t

Country: Canada (QC)

Label: Tour de Grande

Year: 2003

And now for the first honestly piece of shit release of the day. Before I say anything about this album, I’d like to say that Tour de Grande really have outdone themselves since then and have released some outstanding records. But not this one. Halfway through the intro track, you get an idea of the world of hurt you’ve signed on for. Nothing on this album ever seems to change. The drums do not change once over 5 tracks, with the exception of some double bass noodling. When I first heard this, I immediately thought of the “Deathcrush” EP. Listening again, I now realize the drums biggest flaw aside from never changing: they’re right in the middle. On “Deathcrush, the drums alternated between blisteringly fast and agonizingly slow. The drums on this release sit right in between these two poles, lavishing in comfortable glory. The vocals and the guitars on this release aren’t even worth mentioning. They’re furniture. They’re Kandinsky prints on the wall at a Burger King. They’re just kind of there, not eye catching, not hideous but not beautiful. Just, existing.

1/5

Unknown Artist-Untitled Album

Country: Portugal

Label: Latrina Do Chifrudo

Year: 2010

This is what I get for giving things outside of my comfort zone a chance. I will not say that this album is a disappointment. I know absolutely nothing about the Portuguese black metal scene. Musically, this isn’t far off. The real off-putting thing about Unknown Artist is their choice of ambiance. Oh, I see what you did there. When I put your album on iTunes, it makes it look like someone didn’t label it. Your album cover is so anonymous. Unfortunately, the music is pretty anonymous as well. As I said, not bad, but similar to just about every other black metal album made by someone who’s heard Mayhem once. Track 4 does stand out, but not enough to save the release.

2/5

Arianrhod-La Reine Blanche

Country: Canada (QC)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2001

The self-released titles reign supreme this time around, no joke. This release might actually suck. It might be the worst record ever. But the version I have on it is starting to fall apart and, because of the poor condition of the tape itself, this record sounds way crazy. When the electric guitars do kick in, they sound somewhere between a chainsaw being revved and alien laser rifles vaporizing humans. The drums sound like someone is locked in a cellar trying to get out for about 1 second, then they disappear behind the tortured screams of some weird Quebecois who sounds like he’s having his intestines ripped out and shoved up his ass. I may think this release is awesome for all the wrong reasons, and all of the songs do sound basically the same, but the process of degrading magnetic tape has secured Arianrhod a permanent place in my heart.

3/5

Most of these demos can be found knocking around on the internet if you look hard enough.

The Marnost demo can be downloaded for free here


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