Posts Tagged ‘Iron Bonehead Records’

Worm - Evocation of the Black Marsh

A one man swampy black metal project from the dark recesses of Floridian marshland, Worm’s debut record ‘Evocation of the Black Marsh’ is due out at the end of the month on Iron Bonehead, and is a particularly nasty slab of raw, sludgey black metal with more subtlety and nuance than you might expect…

‘Altar of Black Sludge’ couldn’t really be better named, as a morbid crawling riff oozes from underneath occult atmospheres of dread before the ‘Winged Beast of the Phantom Crypt’ envelopes a harsh riff in a suffocating miasma and unholy screams vomit forth from dark places. All the best parts of early Bathory combining with the latter swaying doom of Celtic Frost make ‘Gravemouth’ a modern, mutating classic. Sure, black metal plays the major influencing role here but there’s an undeniably sludge and doom undercurrent here too. The title track sounds like Xasthur covering EyeHateGod, which is inevitably awe inspiring.

Monstrous, fetid crushers like ‘Evil in the Mire’ and ‘Swamp Ghoul’ raise foul spectres of southern sludge and when layered with a malevolent black metal spirit allows ‘Evocation of the Black Marsh’ to become as good an embodiment of a title as any album you’ve heard in ages. Poisonous, asphyxiating bands like Worm aren’t ten a penny, and therefore you need to find this.

Celestial Grave - Burial Ground Trance

Iron Bonehead have been unearthing these underground gems for years, and hidden within dark Finnish soil come Celestial Grave. A two man black metal band that, on their demo release ‘Burial Ground Trance’, express that genre with style and excellent song writing. It is available now on cassette tape, for those of you who wish to light the candles and spin this ode to dark and mysterious places.

Opener ‘The Heartbeats Drum’ has a dark, dense black metal riff that is thick and peppered with blasting. Snarling vocals are par for the course in black metal these days, but these are particularly primal which is great. There’s that traditional Finnish melancholy seeping into each melody, pushing the sound towards the gloomy. The closing solo and melody is incredibly evocative and hypnotic, while ‘The Bearer of Death’ pulses with the broken, bloodied menace of vintage Satyricon.

The title track closes out this tape with energetic traditionalism, invoking necromantic rituals and arcane black magic. Sometimes it’s difficult to express just exactly why you like a record. Not this though. ‘Burial Ground Trance’ is unashamedly Finnish black metal and it wears its black heart on its spiky sleeve. The gloomy melodies are as important as its necro credentials, and Celestial Grave balance both beautifully.


Libation (Unto The Blessed Flame) cover art

Switzerland’s Dakhma is a true beast of the underworld. ‘Astiwihad-Zohr’ is a mini album that meshes complex theological themes with hellish soundscapes. Like the true sound of demonic incantation and void rituals, this is four tracks of death itself.

The music is a harsh mix of blackened atmosphere and rabid, primitive death metal that accompanies unholy vocals. Each track is a vicious pummelling by otherworldly forces, a place where the winds of pestilence meet dark, mystic forces. You are occasionally given respite from these dreadful howls, like later in ‘Procession (Feed from the Skull)’, but it never lasts. You are always dragged back into the endless cycle of decaying death.

Even when lonesome bass drum and ghostly acoustics ushers in ‘Spirit (From the Plane)’, which drags the kind of eastern instrumentation we’ve seen in Karl Sanders’ solo work down into the murky depths. It becomes this harrowing emanation that leaves you gibbering in the corner as if you’ve seen some great, Lovecraftian madness. By the time the horrifying death rattle of ‘Altar (Flesh Upon Me)’ is finished, you’ll be beaten, bloodied and lost within insanity’s maze. If you’re lucky, you’ll find your way out…

Dalkhu - Descend... into Nothingness

Sometimes a record needs time to weigh upon you, repeated listens to get into and to enjoy. Others are like the new Dalkhu album; immediately, devastatingly great. These Slovenian blackened death metallers create a beautiful, crushing maelstorm of metal that hits like a neutron bomb and drains you instantly of any defence against its mighty riffs and unearthly growl.

‘Pitch Black Cave’ is that initial hit, that gargantuan riff plowing voids of despair while it sounds like the vocals were dredged from one of Hell’s most vile pits. The drumming thrashes back and forth, while a tremolo riff buzzes incessantly. ‘Descend into Nothingness’ is achingly heavy and leaves you breathless. ‘The Fireborn’ is a more jagged, stuttering Behemoth, with a bowel rattling bass and double kick combo. ‘In the Woods’ showcases the band’s ability to seamlessly move into beautifully melodic territory, taking influence from the more atmospheric black metal bands, while still engaging in dense, dark evil.

Dalkhu grasp the concept of brutality and melody together perfectly. ‘Descend Into Nothingness’ is one of the most violent pieces I’ve heard this year, but its instantly memorable and the musicianship is top notch. The riff patterns that spiral throughout ‘Soulkeepers’ are inspired. Closing with the crushing behemoth ‘E.N.N.F.’ , Dalkhu have crafted one of 2015’s finest slabs of metal. Fuck yes!