Northern Isolation

08/23/2011, 3:51 PM
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The days are getting shorter. The nights are getting colder. The demos are getting shittier.


Country: Hungary (Szombathely)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011

I really need to stop holding my breath for redeeming self-released black metal demos. Every now and then I’ll find one, but they dwell in a sea of horrendous shit. This record certainly isn’t the biggest piece of shit I’ve ever heard. In fact, I’ve heard records with label support that have been much worse. The no-budget production may also detract some from the power this record tries to command. But overall, from the evidence presented here, Vrag is very typical. Even their name sounds like a number of other black metal bands. I am also convinced that if you played all of these songs at the exact same time, it’d sound the same as they do separately. Except it would be 18 minutes shorter.


Pestilentia-Pestilentia Demo

Country: Belarus (Minsk)

Label: Aeon of Horus Productions

Year: 2011

This demo is not fucking long enough. 2 songs, 12 minutes and 18 seconds, this may be one of the best freshman efforts I’ve heard in years. Kind of like if you combined Hate Forest with, I dunno, everything other than Hate Forest. I can only say this demo blows 75% of everything else the fuck out of the water and this band needs to go and record more material right fucking now.


Obscure Lupine Quietus-Eugach Fionn Iúl

Country: UK (Cornwall)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011

This is one of those releases where the music is on point, but it marred by horrendous song titles. I’m really only talking about one song, but this one only has 3 songs on it so that’s a third of the demo. Come on. “Hypothermic Forest Drenched in the Memory of Death”? It’s like you put a bunch of temperature and forestry words in a hat and picked two at random, then made it even worse. That being my only real grievance with this band, along side their incredibly dumb name. The problem with this crop of reviews so far is that the best records are way to short and the worst records are way too long. I’m super fucked if that trend continues.


Drear-We Will Use Your Blood For Fertilizer

Country: UK (Norwich)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011

This is another one of those hybrid bands that’s makes “black/doom metal” which may be different from “blackened doom” for completely arbitrary and idiotic reasons. What makes this not just a black metal release? Is it because the 2nd track is just power electronics over the “mad as hell” speech from Network? Is it because this band has something to say that isn’t about folklore or Satanism? Is it because you can hear the bass? There’s a few things that make this band not your average black metal band, but last I checked, that’s how a genre develops itself. To be honest, fuck all of the labels. This record is a highly evolved and refreshing approach to what I have learned is overall one of the least creative genres imaginable.


Brocken Moon-Hoffnungslos

Country: Germany (Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg)

Label: Northern Silence Productions

Year: 2011

OK. Before I say anything, this is THE stupidest black metal album cover I have ever seen. Why is Nathan Explosion cutting himself, so he can FEEEEEEEEEL? Seriously, depressive black metal is really just the new Hawthorne Heights, isn’t it? This one kind of sounds like 10-year olds trying to play Emperor and erasing all the power from it. The way the vocals are delivered and the fact that they are in German makes it sound like Hitler is singing. Just a quick recap. An elementary school Emperor cover band with Hitler on vocals and a suicidal Nathan Explosion on the cover. Greeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaat. I will admit that this record has moments of accidental gold, but overall, it’s delivery is shamefully bad. If I want to listen to Europeans being angst-ridden and tortured, I’ll listen to the fucking Smiths. Hurry up and kill yourselves if you’re so miserable, fucking Germans.


Alda-: Tahoma :

Country: USA (Tacoma, WA)

Label: Eternal Warfare

Year: 2011

This band appears to be enthusiastic about the surrounding environs of the their hometown of Tacoma. To be fair, if I lived there, I would be too. The Pacific Northwest is the proverbial “shit”. I give a lot of leeway to the Cascadian BM Scene because of this. This band initially had me thinking it was going to get a good rating from me because it had that Wolves in the Throne Room thing going for it. It’s not. It’s getting a good rating from me because it’s got that Alda thing going for it. It’s a lot more of a traditional black metal release than the hyperblasting had me believing. There are moments on this record that are reminiscent of WITTR, but here we find less reliance on foggy production and culminating whirlwind sounds and a heavier focus on dramatic song-writing, something Alda achieves with excellence. Alda also utilizes folk music (like everybody else does now) but unlike their Cascadian contemporaries, their folk passages are deeply fleshed out and unique. Going on the list of top releases of the year.


Kaevum-Nordnorsk Hatmusikk

Country: Norway

Label: Winter Solace Productions

Year: 2010

And once again, the specter of National Socialism raises it’s shaved head to grace the pages of my blog. And in this case, it comes from Norway, a country with absolutely nothing to complain about. Your psychos are precisely the kind of people making these records that I keep reviewing. And as much as it continues to pain me to say it, by the standard of the unproduced black demo, this is kind of excellent. Politically, I disagree full-heartedly. But I’m not from Norway. I don’t speak Norwegian well enough to derive any sort of political message from this, and I’m not an Aryan super-dick. So all I can really grade this record on is the quality of the music, which has a sort of early Burzum/”Transilvanian Hunger” feel, perhaps with less adventurous song-structure (strictly in the case of the former, Darkthrone don’t even know half of these chords exist). If my Jewish grandmother knew I was writing favorable reviews of Norwegian proto-fascist black metal demos, she’d guilt me to death.


Ajris-White Wolves of North Africa

Country: Algeria (Aures)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011

We’ve officially descended into madness. California making black metal, that’s just dumb. But Algeria making black metal, that’s downright bizarre. In the past few years, there’s been an explosion of bands in the Islamic world and Ajris appears to be a part of that explosion. Unfortunately, this album just isn’t very good. In their defense, there is a lot of “cold, northern” imagery on this record for a band that comes from the Sahara desert and the black metal scene in the Islamic world is still relatively young. With this one, we will have to wait and see what time and the ever shifting sands of North Africa can do to shape this.


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