(We’re really pleased to feature today this guest post by MaxR, the proprietor of Metal Bandcamp, an extremely useful site that maintains a close watch on new metal being added to the Bandcamp platform. In this post Max focuses on labels who have established Bandcamp outposts and he provides a ton of great music to illustrate what’s available.)
You probably know about Bandcamp, the place where bands can release their music as free downloads or for a price (including the popular name-you-price option). You can get awesome free demos like the one from epic doomsters Pallbearer or you can buy albums from DIY bands like progressive black metallers Cormorant. What you may not be aware of is that many metal record labels have set up camp (harh harh) on Bandcamp. I will describe some of them and provide links and Bandcamp players to a great selection of metal – much of which hasn’t been covered on No Clean Singing before.
First up is Candlelight Records. They add five albums per week to their Bandcamp, either new releases or from their catalog. And they are pretty smart about it. New Opeth released? Hey, we got their first three albums. New Insomnium out? We have Above the Weeping World and Across the Dark for ya. And they even have Bandcamp exclusives – apparently the original mix of Quietly, Undramatically was pretty crappy, so now you can get a remix by Woe mastermind Chris Grigg. Check it out, it’s raw and melodic black metal.
Profound Lore Records have been updating their Bandcamp at a steady pace, starting with their older out-of-print releases and now moving through 2010. Among last year’s releases you could find hipster metal from Ludicra, frigid black metal from The Howling Wind, straight up Heavy Metal from Dawnbringer, and old school death metal / sludgy doom from Hooded Menace. Some Profound Releases are just a bit too weird or experimental for my tastes; that can’t be said for this collection of slow massive riffs and cavernous growls.
20 BUCK SPIN
20 Buck Spin has a pretty nice Bandcamp thing going. It is very well integrated with their existing website and functions as full-album streams for many of their releases. Musically they have a pretty solid lineup, everything from the debut album by Liturgy to really gnarly old-school death metal by Coffins. My personal favorite is the Laudanum album with its combination of evil-sounding ambient pieces and crushing doom. Together the first two tracks from The Coronation form some of the most desolate music I’ve ever heard.
Relapse Records was the first major label to join Bandcamp. And they have a shitload of albums up there for your listening pleasure. Many albums sell for $9.99, which I think is a little on the high side for a digital download. The band pages are well done though, and the new Fuck The Facts album plus the accompanying EP Misery are reasonably priced – and both pretty fucking brutal.
Seventh Rule Recordings once observed that visitors to their Bandcamp were surprisingly interested in the FLAC downloads. The answer is simple: If you want lossless digital metal, there really isn’t anywhere else to go. A good example of a Seventh Rule band is B A T I L L U S. Check out this doomy track with its nasty gargling vocals – and the three minutes of hypnotic riffing at the end.
if you like technical death metal, you will be pretty stoked browsing the Willowtip Bandcamp. Recently they added many releases from their catalog – going all the way back to 2002 and 2003. A newer release is Defeated Sanity’s Chapters Of Repugnance from last year. At the risk of sounding very cliched, this is seriously heavy, crushingly brutal stuff.
The Flenser have just finished redecorating their Bandcamp in proper black metal colors and are busy uploading new albums to it. They deal in different varieties of black metal, from straight up (Pale Chalice) to avant-garde (Bosse-de-Nage). The Seidr album is more in a doomy vein. It has some of the heaviest shit you’ve heard and some posty sounding passages, including a beautiful full-on acoustic track.
Ragnarok Records is a tiny label with just four bands – three of them on their Bandcamp. They’re also an example of the great variety of metal you can find on Bandcamp. Check out the Iranian black metal horde Aras and this album from Faces of Bayon, which is mostly floor-shakingly, bone-rattlingly heavy stoner doom, but ends with the simple and beautiful instrumental “A Fire Burns At Dawn”.
THE PATH LESS TRAVELED
On The Path Less Travelled Records Bandcamp you can find a pretty eclectic mix of metal: Kaliya’s blend of grind and modern melodic metal, NCS favorites Pristina, and the debut album by Portuguese one-man band Omitir. Cotard is pretty intriguing in the way it intersperses raw black metal with ambient jazz passages. But Sean, the label owner, really said it best: “Check it if you like black metal with saxophones and shit.”
We end with Black Goat Records, another of the many small metal labels on Bandcamp. Their Bandcamp deals in raw industrial, dark ambient, and very cvlt black metal. You know, albums that are grim as fuck and come hand numbered in the band member’s blood. They also have this album of mechanized death grind by Pro-Death.
This is far from all the metal labels on Bandcamp. There’s also Basick Records for all you progressive metal fans, Gilead Media where all albums are available as name-your-price downloads, and Cruz del Sur Music if you’re in the market for some real Heavy Metal, clean singing and all.