Jul 102011

(Surgical Brute — NCS reader, commenter, and reliable source of skull-cleaving musical recommendations — returns with the second part of his preview of the Rites of Darkness 3 festival.)

Okay, after my original post, it quickly came to my attention that some of you reading No Clean Singing were probably unaware of the best festival to happen in the U.S. this year. The organizers of Rites of Darkness 3 have been quietly assembling one of the best line-ups of underground metal that I’ve ever seen. This one is going to be a marathon, with very little opportunity for rest stops.

In my last post I mentioned 5 lesser-known bands I thought people needed to check out. As we slowly get closer to the day of the festival (December 9-11th in San Antonio), I think it’s time to check out a few more bands scheduled to appear at this monster. So here are 5 bands that you absolutely cannot miss.


One of my personal favorites, and probably one of the heaviest bands out there right now.

These guys were playing dirty, old school death metal long before it caught on again in the underground. I got the chance to catch their live set at MDF 2011, and I can vouch for them. Only getting an incredibly short 30 minutes, this band pummeled me harder than anyone else that day. For fans of Incantation and Disma.

(There’s lots more after the jump, including Surgical Brute’s hand-picked sample tracks from each band featured in this preview, beginning with Funebrarum . . .)


Antaeus plays black metal the way it’s supposed to be played. There are no “post” elements, no avant-garde innovation. Just raw, punishing, hateful metal pulled up from hell itself.

If you dislike the direction black metal has taken over the past few years, then you won’t be disappointed with Antaeus. For fans of Marduk and 1349.


Chicago legend Cianide have been playing death metal since the early days of the genre. These guys were there near the beginning and they can still bring the heavy today.

Starting with a traditional death metal style, they’ve gone on to mix more doom elements into their sound. This is another band I can personally vouch for after watching them play at MDF 2011. This is for fans of old school death metal.


An amazing funeral doom band from Australia. Mournful Congregation play complicated, and sorrowful, music to create an atmosphere of gothic beauty without losing any of the heaviness. While funeral doom is never the easiest style of music to listen to in concert, I would highly recommend checking them out.

This is for fans of bands like Insomnium.



I know what most of you are thinking…who in their right mind would skip this? Sadly, the number of people who have never heard of this band is far larger than I would have ever guessed.

For those of you who don’t know, in 1992 a young Finnish band called Demigod released the album Slumber of Sullen Eyes. Through a combination of technical ability, melody, and sheer brutality, they managed to release what many consider to be the greatest death metal album ever. After some membership changes, they released two more full lengths, which were solid, but never quite recaptured the magic they had found on the first album.

Now, after nearly 20 years, the original lineup has reunited and will be performing again. People, if you miss this, just turn your metal card into the nearest security guard because we have nothing left to talk about. This is for fans of Demilich, Adramelech, and Finnish death metal.

So there you go. Among a stellar lineup, with very little filler, these are my 5 must-see choices. Tickets for Rites of Darkness 3 are on sale now, with the final 350 being released sometime in the next couple weeks. The last two batches have already sold out, so if you’re thinking about going, grab them soon.

For more about the lineup, and information on ordering tickets check out their facebook page.


  1. The first article I read about Rites of Darkness I think was the one on Invisible Oranges. The article also said other Nunslaughter are on the bill. A good number of bands I wanna’ check out/check out more are on the bill including: Oak, Blaspherian, Nunslaughter, Cruciamentum, Mitochondrian, Zemial, and Root. I may have missed some.

    I wish I lived in Texas… this and the Goregrowlers Ball are reasons enough to move there…

  2. Sorry, I guess I’m not a hipster that digs this intentionally ironic, garbage can bullshit production. Fail on everything!

    • I’m struggling with the concept of any of these being hipster. Demigod and Cianide are over twenty years old and have most likely influenced at least some music you listen to. That doesn’t mean you must like them, but maybe just a shred of respect?

    • Do you know what the words you typed even mean?

      Every single band up there predates the hipster metal movement by at least 10 years, and the only bands that could be considered lo-fi in their production are Cianide and Antaeus.

      Seriously, you’re bordering on “stupidest post of the year” territory here

      (I know, as the writer, Im supposed to ignore comments like this, but come on…thats just ignorant trolling)

      • Back when I was new(er) to American black metal (and to metal in general perhaps as this was a year and a half/two years ago, if not more), it all sounded like white nosie to me. I remember that even Nachtmystium sounded like it lol. It’s a lot like death metal: it has to grow on you before you can enjoy it. I’m guessing Morbidcorpse hasn’t really gotten into this stuff yet cuz the production has put him off. He has to want to like it for it to grow on him.

        Also I must confess that I still can’t get into Wolves in the Throne Room.

        • I remember being at that point as well, but only Cianide and Antaues have anything approaching what I would call a lo-fi production. Hell…Mournful Congregation is downright clean, but thats in the ear of the listener.

          Its one thing to not like the bands, but referring to any of them as ironic or hipster is, as Byrd says, a confusing concept.

  3. You are missing the Greek masters of black metal Zemial.

    • Yeah, I listened to a song by them on YouTube, I guess cuz I liked their logo, and it was extremely simple sounding, yet it had awesome tremolo-picked burst-riffs with a thrashy groove behind it. Then I streamed another song from them not too long after that, maybe the next day, and the clean singing put me off. But definitely a band that should be checked out by anyone who likes black metal, I’m gonna’ go back sometime and check out more by them.

      • Just streamed them both again, and uh, my description of the thrashy one was a bit off, but no biggie I guess, blackened thrash is blackened thrash. I actually liked the one with clean singing more than the thrashy one this time around…

    • Damn, Zemial is awesome! In Monumentum is fantastic.

    • As usual, I find out about another band through comments here that’s new to me and sounds definitely worth digging into — Zemial.

      • Honestly man…I tried to keep both of my lists to a resonable number of recommendations, but this lineup is so stacked I would just look up every band you dont recognize and check them out. Its such an amazing lineup that I dont know when anyone would really have a chance to even rest

  4. Wish I lived in Texas/had the money for travel and festival tickets. I would fucking love to see Antaeus live.

  5. It is surprising how many people don’t even know about Demigod. Antaeus and Funebrarum are gems as well. Antaeus is just unabashed, buzzsaw hate and Funebrarum’s vox are br00tz. I’ll have to give Cianide more listens as that’s not one I’m not actually familiar with.

  6. I’m also really looking forward to seeing Weapon!

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