This week, sifting through the dustbin results in two worthy finds. First, we have an ambitious, but incomplete heavy-black metal hybrid which shows some promise. Last, we have a black/viking metal band which worships hallowed halls in the north and the Mediterranean, a bountiful find in picking through the dustbin. The other three deserve to disintegrate in the dustbin.
Nan Elmoth - Demo II
Black metal from San Luis Obispo, California, USA
A dark, bassy live-sounding recording of a black metal band which explores epic heavy/doom as much as they do black metal. Ambitious and lengthy songs contrast and old-fashioned, triumphant Gravewurm-style riffing with a tremolo-heavy black metal style. The band adds another unique dynamic with a female singer with the rasps and growls. There are quite a few intriguing elements within here that are a bit lost in unwieldy song structures. It seems the intent here is to channel massive Graveland-style epics, but they aren't really able to stitch together the parts they have into complete songs.
Spectral Procession - Spirit of the Mountain
Atmospheric black metal from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada
A band which uses repetition and reverb to drown their utterly boring and eventless black metal in a shallow sheen of "atmosphere." A few riffs are borrowed in-part from stronger practitioners of black metal, yet their resolutions and purpose completely lost in translation to this boring drone. Vocals are kept to the back of the mix and they simply fade into the background even moreso than the rest of the music. Completely aimless and uninteresting black metal basking in mediocre tones.
Solfrost - Season of Mourning
Black metal from Talsi, Latvia
Cavernous, low-end-laden sadguy black-ish metal. Retains the basic forms of black metal while trying to express some of the emotional range of early Katatonia and more melancholic breeds of metal, Traces of buried melody provide a buried-yet-audible driving aspect to the music. Despite this, the repetitive, reverb-drenched sea of tremolo and echoing rasps dominate the style of the music. While this has a deeper, sweeter tone than most black metal, it has twice as much reverb than most and feels flat and wimpy as a result of that being used to inflate its character.
BloodMeal (formerly Corporeal Insult) - Zanferion
Black/death metal from Houston, Texas, USA
This is a horrendous crossbreed of bedroom black metal and rappish death metal with inexplicable noodling and electric taragato solos. The first two tracks are uneventful old-timey black metal, while the remaining four are the true atrocity. Lo-fi death/black somewhere between brutal and melodic with endless ranting delivery of nasal rasps which sound kind of like a D-list rapper hacking up his first cigarette smoke. Monumentally terrible, almost worth a listen because it's so bad.
Side note, the artwork has the band's old name, their online presence has their new name. Neither is worth remembering.
Havukruunu - Usvakuningas
Melodic black/viking metal from Hausjarvi, Finland
Viking Varathron worship? Triumphant, galloping, Hammerheart-worshipping viking/black metal from the school of Falkenbach, blended with an equally significant weight of Hellenic black metal. These huge heavy metal riffs range from the big and brusque black, almost melodic death metal riffs of Varathron to the massive Manowar-influenced riffs and beats of Bathory. The riffs and rhythms provide several different aspects and moods of conquest, from triumph to exploration to celebration. Strong chants and folky leads fill out these grand ambitions. Of course, it doesn't quite match up to these legendary comparisons, but it is by far the best demo I've found in the dustbin, and it has earned quite a few plays in this past week. Highly recommended.