Apr 072023


If I didn’t already know, I could have guessed this was a Bandcamp Friday from the choking flood of Bandcamp alerts, messages, and press releases that hit our in-box overnight and shows no sign of stopping. Real tough to know what to recommend, even based on the far-from-exhaustive and truly random smattering of listening I’ve done earlier this week and this morning. But below is what I came up with.

In an effort to compile a larger shopping list for you in a short amount of time, I made a rare effort to (mostly) choke off my own words down to brief gurgles.

SAMMATH (Netherlands)

I’ve had the good fortune to hear a few of the tracks on this veteran black metal band’s ferocious new album Grebbeberg. Inspired by the resistance of the Dutch army against Nazi invaders in World War II, and more specifically by the experiences of a relative of mainman Jan Kruitwagen who perished in that conflict, the album is a stunning audio rendition of extreme warfare under the most desperate conditions, and sees Sammath reaching what might be the zenith of their long career.

Reichswald” is the explosive first single released today. The screams and roars channel madness and pain. The drums sound like high-powered munitions, the weaponry firing until too hot to touch. The fast, white-hot riffing sears, encompassing sensations of brutality, delirium, and paralyzing fear.

The music soars and sweeps toward epic heights in ways that manifest the vast turmoil and terrors of combat on a terrible scale, but also descends into the dismal muck of degradation and hopelessness. Absolutely electrifying and breathtaking stuff.

Grebbeberg will be released on June 16th (CD, LP, MC and digital) by Hammerheart Records, and it’s up for pre-order now.





I’ve been anxious for this next one, a new split named Sepulchorporeal/Amore by these two UK merchants of death, which is now set for release by Dark Descent on May 5th.

The label forecasts: “Abyssal’s reverb-laden and dissonant cascades of notes exist in seamless synergy with the twisted and doom-ed barrage of Ellorsith“. The first tangible signs of this are below. Be afraid… be very afraid….





Mournful Congregation are returning with what is billed as the second and final installment in the doom-laden The Exuviae Of Gods EP series. Part II includes two new songs and a re-recording of the song “Heads Bowed” from the band’s 1995 demo, An Epic Dream Of Desire. What has now surfaced is one of the new songs, “The Forbidden Abysm“.

Prepare to be submerged in suffering, shaken and spellbound, accompanied by the tormented roars of a dying leviathan in the cavern next to yours.

The Exuviae Of Gods – Part II will be released on LP, CD, and digital formats on May 26th by 20 Buck Spin.




UKAKUJA (International)

There are lots of other places you can visit besides NCS to find ways to spend your hard-earned money at Bandcamp today, when more of it will go to the bands and labels than usual, but if you really want to get off the usual beaten tracks (and get beaten in different ways), I’d recommend (as I often have before) the SubStack of Rennie Resmini from starkweather. As a shopping guide, digging back through all the posts there is worth the time (as is digging back through our own stuff!), but even if you just check out the one article that appeared today you’ll find lots to explore.

Today’s newest entry picked up on the mind-mangling nightmare trip of Kuolevan Rukous‘s debut demo which we premiered yesterday (thanks for that!), but Rennie led off with a recommendation for Ōmukade, the split-your-brain-wide-open debut release of Ukakuja, which will be coming out in May via The Centipede Abyss.

This was already on my list of things to check out in full, and I did check out the first advance track, “sa’an of sigh… sa’an o sigh!“, but that convinced me I need much more time to set aside for the album as a whole before attempting to muster any mutated thoughts about it. For now, I’m just going to quote Rennie‘s own writeup:

Holy hell… Centipede Abyss assembles a murderer’s row of rogues for Ukakuja. Lori Bravo (Nuclear Death), Taylor Belangor (The Idiot Flesh, Kakodaimonia), Pan Inentropy (Act of Entropy, Ar’lyxkq’wr), Jared Moran (Acausal Intrusion and upwards of a thousand young), and Ni Nthentropy (Zvylpwkua, Lux Sine Lumine) are the five principals given assists from Adam R Bryant, Giuseppe Emanuelle Frisone, Nuno Lourenço and Nicholas Turner.

9 songs, 21 minutes of warped reality insanity blurring distinction between art, noise, jazz, metal, grind. Fantastic to hear Lori Bravo back in extreme metal territory and cutting loose incorporating her opera background as well as those murderous caterwauls you remember from her pioneering days with Nuclear Death. Musically this is close to Centipede Abyss denizens Act of Entropy and Zvylpwkua given a Weasel Walter freak out treatment. Nothing sits in the pocket for more than a few seconds at a time before the floor drops out or things catapult through the roof. It’s a funhouse of sound and morphing textures where nothing is tethered too tightly to one space. A soundtrack to Tradd Moore/Steve Ditko Dr Strange art.




AODON (France)

This very interesting atmospheric black metal band are returning with an album aptly named Portraits, because (as Willowtip Records explains) it musically “introduces us to nine individuals, one for each track on the album; fictitious or real, guided towards their fall by a different element: misery, ego, addiction, belief, violence, obedience, abuse, destruction or love”.

In some ways the first single, “Mayerson“, loops us back around to where I began today’s collection. It too sounds like warfare, but maybe more like internal incineration or Armageddon than a battlefield slaughter. The drums fire damned fast, the music comes in blistering waves of epic scale, the voice screams like it’s coming apart in shreds. But you’ll see that the music briefly shifts as well, lightly ringing and brooding before someone’s world goes up in flames again.

Portraits will be released by Willowtip on June 9th. The French lyrics to this song are at Bandcamp, but I haven’t translated them yet.


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