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SEMPITERNAL DUSK submerges to the bottom of the abyss and returns with the accursed “Cenotaph Of Defectuous Creation”

The woeful prophets of the abyss, Sempiternal Dusk, emerge from their hellish seance with the other side, only to bestow their curse upon the world with Cenotaph Of Defectuous Creation, a vivid projection of supernaturally hypnotic doom dredged from Styx’s riverbed. The elegance with which Sempiternal Dusk balance the triumvirate of unstable elements of death, doom, and black metal is simply a bait, meant to draw the listener into a perpetual spiral of debilitation. And like desperate slaves we pursue the mortal coil to its very end, time after time.

The method behind Sempiternal Dusk’s madness is as simple as it is brutally effective. The band lock into a foundational riff or two, and from there proceed to repeatedly beat the listener against it, rather than build out of it. Rarely does the band stray far from the baseline they establish at the outset of a song, instead basting the listener in a thick stew of ichorous noise, progressively absorbing them in perverse osmosis.

This effect of complete immersion is not possible by repetition alone, though. Sempiternal Dusk skew their musical approach with every track, phasing between genres, feelings and atmospheres in such a way that each song becomes its own vignette of blasphemy. “Excavated Filth From Dimensional Incarnations” dwarfs the listener before cyclopean grandeur, as the band’s looming riffs and quaking rhythm section threaten to swallow the sky, only until unseen gates suddenly open, like the maw of Minas Morgul, to discharge endless legions upon distant lands. The scale is hopelessly vast, cowing all in the shadow of a villain’s glory. 

But before any expectations for what is to come can be properly formulated, “Orgiastic Feast Upon Martyred Flesh” gets up close and personal in a decidedly more brutal attack of throbbing blasts, intercutting the relentless battering with decisive cymbal work that evokes a semblance of barbaric ritual. The straight ahead death march sparked by “Orgiastic Feasts Of Martyred Flesh” is carried on in militant thunder by the fleeting desolation of “Beneath The Emblem Of Death”, and marks the borderline of styles before the shift into decidedly more blackened territory.

In “Refracted Suffering Through The Windows Of Hell”, the shock and awe imposed by the prophets’ visions of Hell have subsided, only to be replaced by a mood of inexorable hopelessness. The titanic scale and tectonic weight of course remains, though Sempiternal Dusk’s writhing death doom cuts with an edge of old school black metal riffing, hinting at the inverse regality of the underworld. 

The mounting depression comes to a head in a well of quiet solitude as the album closer, “Spears Of Pestilence” yawns into being, like a hulking abomination chained down in a pit of antediluvian slime. Out of a funereal cradle of glacial agony, “Spears Of Pestilence” depicts one last futile dirge against the void before finally succumbing. Sempiternal Dusk’s guitars never breach the surface of that putrid lake, reverberating with the weight of the world, as the drums struggle to bear the weight. The vomitous spew of T.C’s vocals conjoin seamlessly with the guitar tone, in a reeking ode to despair from the throat of the suffering damned.

Cenotaph Of Defectuous Creation is exemplary proof of the malleability of extreme metal. Sempiternal Dusk manipulate varying styles to their advantage, weaving and crossbreeding the likenesses of Incantation with Disembowelment, among others, and with masterful fluidity to appeal to multiple tastes of heaviness, all bound together under the reign of absolute fucking death. 


To be unveiled by the mighty DARK DESCENT RECORDS on CD and black or coloured Black “A” side/Silver “B” side merge vinyl.

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COMMON EIDER, KING EIDER delivers an ode to the moon, black air, and burnt soil “Egregore”

Common Eider, King Eider present us with Egregore, a beautiful ritual ambient collaboration between Rob Fisk and Arexis, known for his work in Stille Volk, invoking spirits of nature in four parts. A new chapter in the Common Eider, King Eider catalog, this work of magic brings to mind some of the most powerful works of groups such as Arktau Eos, Halo Manash, Lamia Vox, and others producing night hymns of shamanic potency.

This being their 11th album thus far, Common Eider, King Eider have undergone quite the transformation in their 12 year existence of releasing albums, a culmination of dabbling within the realm of folk, noise, experimental, and ritual psychedelic textures to give us a haunting sound quite unlike anything before it. Starting out as a surreal blend minimal acoustic passages, haunting opera wails, and string drones; the middle of their discography took quite the turn into much darker and slightly more frightening territory, more focused within the otherworldly and arcane. This album continues in that tradition of sound evolution, while keeping the spirit of their trademark organic approach that binds the gap between the earthly and the ethereal.

On display are four chapters of elemental dualism, four phases of transformative ordeals, focusing on a variety of hypnotic and bewitching sounds and textures. Ritual percussion, rattles, and distant whispers set the tone for a journey into the spirit self, as most of this recording was done live, in a cabin in the Pyrinees in France through midnight into early dawn. One can’t help but notice a certain planned spontaneity of the recording, but set to the backdrop of instrumental and vocal drones that hook you in for the ride.

Being a dark moon folk magic ritual, this recording is best listened to in a meditative state around midnight, with very minimal light and few distractions. This is a complete escape from the flesh into the realm of the various spirits and entities both conjured and retreating during the experience. You feel yourself in a dream travelling down a spirit path deeper and deeper into this primeval forest of manifesting energies, and it’s best to let yourself be swallowed and inspired by the visions conjured.

Live @ Ascension Fest 2019

This work represents Common Eider, King Eider at its most minimal and primal, but simultaneously most profound and pure, eschewing a lot of the modern sounds characteristic of their earlier work. Containing a multitude of chants, wails, whispers, and other inhuman vocalizations one is taken to that twilight world in a half-dreaming state where the influence of spectral energies is at its most potent and profound.


COLD SPRING RECORDS presents this ritual housed in a beautiful matte-laminate gatefold ecopak, with visuals prepared by Kevin Gan Yuen (Sutekh Hexen).

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Covenant Records Premiere

SATURN’S CROSS EP ‘Possession’ unleashed now on Covenant Records – Listen to the full stream

Covenant Records is proud to debut the digital release of Saturn’s Cross EP Possession (CVNNT007). Written and recorded across the winter and spring of this year, the EP represents an enormous step-up in songwriting and production quality from the Vancouver-based musician.

As was the case with 2018’s This Is Going To End In Blood (also available digitally through Covenant Records), all visuals were produced by visionary photographer and film-maker artist Max Montesi, and an intense master was given to the songs by infamous Toronto-based producer and musician Camp.30.

Possession is not easy to penetrate. It takes an honest, galvanizing look at our inescapable flaws and faults in enormous wrong-doing. Drawing as much from a retro 80’s sound as a modern R&B sound, and combining it with intense industrial and ambient elements, Possession is sure to sound unlike anything else you’ll hear this year.


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CONSUMMATION seize power through a meticulous manifestation of Will

Consummation proliferated with vigour and malice from Brisbane, Australia in 2012 with their self-titled demo, followed up with several live appearances and then sporadically vanished into obscurity. This silence was not unproductive however, with the band continuing to solidify their craft in solitude …

The fruits of these endeavours were the 2017 Ritual Severance EP (Invictus Productions) followed by the full length album The Great Solar Hunter released June 2019 by Profound Lore Records.

We spoke with band founder Craig about catharsis through creation, underpinning philosophies, mythos, and literature which inspire the vision and future of the entity known as Consummation.


MANIFESTATION

– I discarded at least a dozen names between the project’s conception and the recording of the first demo.  The title Consummation came to me unexpectedly as an instantaneous thought one day followed by an instinctual resonance, that ‘knowing’ you get when you’ve got something right. The definition, ritual of completion, seemed a more than apt ethos to apply to this endeavour. First as a creative ethic and secondly for the personal catharsis that I am seeking through this project.

Prior to Consummation Craig was involved in several seminal bands within the Brisbane metal underground as a drummer. Upon founding the band his focus soon became inward, devoted solely to the pursuit of composing Consummation on guitar, driven by passion and the reward of the creative process.

– I started playing guitar not long after I began drumming and it wasn’t long before it took over as my main instrument. Originally, I think this had something to do with easier access, you can play a guitar until the small hours and not be inhibited by people within your proximity. Not only that but once you start creating riffs that you actually like it ignites a similar passion that’s experienced when you first start discovering bands in your early years. That’s the way of it for me at least. I’ve also found song writing to be the most rewarding aspect of being involved in music so the shift from drums to guitar was an inevitable one.

Existing as a way to “challenge myself creatively and to successfully create an amalgam of my favourite elements of extreme music.” Craig sheds light on the importance of sacrifice, challenges and having a creative outlet to deal with existential mundanity.

– First and foremost, I’d say it’s my own personal need to have a creative outlet. There’s a dull, grinding sense of ennui that grows into something much harder to tolerate when the creative aspect of living is ignored. Music is the only outlet I have found that can combat this ignoble sensation. Granted the countless hours of solitude while pursuing the creative process can bare its own rotten fruit, persistence through the chosen sacrifice can produce a satisfaction that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s a very good way to challenge the more base elements of your own nature.    

PHILOSOPHY

Considerable time and effort have gone into the crafting of Consummations sound, lyrics and objectives. Craig delves deeper into the philosophies that inspire the band, how they relate to and are reflected in his music and by extension his own life.

– As far as an overarching ethos goes, lyrically I tend to focus on subjects and themes that I’m exploring in my free time, whether it’s philosophy, mythology or religion. My greatest interest lies in the point where the three meet so this is generally the area that I try to operate in thematically.

– Books that I’m reading at the time directly influence the themes that are injected into Consummation’s music. I don’t really seek reading material out to try and find ideas as I maintain reading as a steady habit. Usually there are more ideas floating around in my head than the number of songs I have ready for application. You could say that this is the connection between the lyrics and my personal life.

Further delving into literature and philosophers which have influenced him – While not exclusive, Frederick Nietzsche, Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell certainly played a heavy hand in influencing the themes for this album along with my own inclinations and tendencies. It wasn’t deliberate from the onset but reflecting on the thematic current that runs through the album – seeing as I’ve had to write about it in interviews after its release – it could certainly be said that at the core of each track you will find The Will to Power. By this I don’t mean some romantic, misconstrued perversion of the Overman – like what Elizabeth Förster helped introduce to Germany – but rather a strong sense of overcoming and expanding heavily laced with metaphor and sometimes, religious subtext.    

The title “The Great Solar Hunter” gives a strong sense of a timeless and universal archetype of heroism and conquest. This was further reflected in the artwork, lyrics and confirmed by Craig himself who details the nature of a hero as both a champion of life and death itself.

The Great Solar Hunter is actually a line taken out of Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which is a phenomenal read for anyone interested in hero mythology. The song itself takes a look at the romanticised idea of the Hero archetype and the shift in paradigm when examining actual historical figures remembered as heroes. There is an inseparable relationship between the change that they bring and death on a large scale and yet mankind has always had an overwhelming affinity for these figures. To worship the hero is to also worship death, which is good and natural for some, but western culture definitely seems to shy away from this in modern times.

– Heavily inspired by the previously mentioned names, alongside particular religious texts, the album covers multiple topics that all relate to the shadow nature of man such as acquiring power through a developed capacity for suffering, self-initiation through individuation and ascension through violence (a topic already touched on in The Weightless Grip of Fire). As I mentioned above, these can all be viewed as thematic incarnations of the will to power.

SUBSTANCE & SUBJECT

Further expanding on the above, how do these philosophies correlate with the lyrics and the process of composing music with Consummation – which inspires which?

– I consider each track as an individual piece first and foremost. Once the songs have taken shape, I then consider their relationship with the others. How the material sits together will dictate how it gets released. Each song has to have its own flow first and then the songs are arranged in a way that allows the release to flow as a whole.

He further reiterates the importance of the music setting the direction and details the trials of creating lyrical concepts which reflect the music. 

– So, the music comes first and the lyrics second. I want each song to tell its own ‘musical narrative’ first and foremost, then the lyrical content is considered afterwards. The themes and lyrics present on album were given very careful consideration and presented one of the most challenging aspects of the album’s creation. Personally, I find extracting concepts from books or formulating an idea from knowledge acquired over the years to be a very natural thing. This can happen deliberately or unexpectedly when going about something mundane.

Drawing from the prose of other writers for inspiration was not without complications, especially in the initial approach. – Fleshing out an idea into a set of lyrics and moulding it in a way that will compliment an already existing song is quite a challenge for me seeing as I had very little experience with this at the time. In the beginning I was looking to poets like William Blake and Charles Baudelaire for inspiration, which actually proved to be a hindrance. Their command of language can cast a suffocating shadow over someone who is just starting out. In the end I decided to keep my mind away from the writing of others and just focus on fleshing out the concepts to the best of my ability. The end result was hardly poetic but it was something I was quite satisfied with.   

COMPOSITION

For Consummation, creating the foundational track is often a solitary endeavour of chasing an ever elusive “spark” of creativity and grasping it when it is attained with varying results. 

– I thrive on extended periods of solitude, especially when approaching the creative process so I’ve never really enjoyed trying to write material as a group. I find it can be frustrating, but I think a lot of this stems from my severe lack of musical knowledge. Most of the time, when writing, I’m fumbling around trying to find that ‘spark’ to kick off momentum. Sometimes this can take days and other times it can happen before I’ve even touched my guitar. Once it’s there I ride it out for as long as I can.

– Sometimes this spark can lead to an idea that becomes an entire song, for example Apotheoses was written from scratch in just a few days. However, most of the time a few segments come together and then I try and see where I can take them. Songs like the title track were written over a much longer period of time. There is material on the album that was written over 6 years ago. Once the songs are structurally sound, I hand them over to Joel and let him do whatever he wants to them. I have complete trust in his taste and ability.

REFORMATION

Despite tracks gestating for up to 6 years, Consummation had no releases between 2012-2017 and for a time it seemed to the outside world that the demo would be all that would materialise. Craig provides insights about the perceived silence from the band during these years.

– Fundamentally it was a lack of time and struggling to find the right line up. The demo was very easy to produce. There were no group rehearsals, no drummer and structurally, the material was a lot simpler. Most of the material for Ritual Severance was written shortly after the demo but I was heavily involved in Impetuous Ritual and several other projects at the time and we were also rehearsing with people who were involved in multiple other projects.

It became a massive struggle to get any momentum, so Joel and I decided to scale everything back to focus on writing and recording. I parted ways with the other bands I was involved in, invited Dave into the band to take care of the drumming, and then began focusing on recording the EP and completing the material set aside for The Great Solar Hunter.  

After suitable members had been identified and recruited, this new lineup would go on to form the basis for recording “Ritual Severance” and “The Great Solar Hunter”. 

Joel and I had worked together in other bands prior to Consummation. He stepped in to write and record the bass parts for the self-titled demo and has been involved ever since. Even though he isn’t involved in the initial writing phase, being as musically educated as he is, he brings a whole new layer to the music that I can’t find myself. His ear for detail compliments the music perfectly. 

Dave joined us after a couple of years of jamming and performing with a line up that never really worked out. The decision to disband the live line up and focus on recording material became glaringly obvious after a while. In that time we recorded and released both Ritual Severance and The Great Solar Hunter so now my focus has shifted back to taking this project live. I’m sorry to say that Joel won’t be joining us on stage as that’s not where his interest lies but rehearsals have begun and things are starting to take shape.

CONTINUITY, PROCESS,
& PRODUCTION

Listening to the EP and album consecutively, there seemed to be a current or continuation between both. The similarities were most notable with the endings of “Weightless Grip of Fire” from the EP and “Phosphor Libation” on the album. On whether this was an intentional recurrence or coincidental.

– Initially the EP material was intended for our first full length. The original plan was to go straight for an album after the demo, but things can change in the writing process. A lot of what is on The Great Solar Hunter existed before we recorded Ritual Severance but, to my ears, there was a bit of a gap between the older material and the new. We decided to split the material and do an EP first. This also gave us the opportunity to ‘test run’ the recording process seeing as we have a drummer that lives in a different city. 

Craig further states – any similarities weren’t necessarily deliberately intended but half of the album material was nearly going to be released alongside the EP tracks. There were two other songs recorded for the album that we decided to exclude because they didn’t sit well with the others. In retrospect we should have included these on Ritual Severance. Maybe they’ll see the light of day eventually, who knows?

Having members in different cities can have limitations, specifically with regards to recording. Whilst both Dave Haley (drums) and John Gossard (leads) are not strangers to this process, recording components independently has the potential of impacting the overall vision and output. Craig’s perspective on this recording process:

Both the album and Ritual Severance were recorded in the same fashion. We approached the recording of Ritual Severance as a kind of ‘warm up’ for the album. It would seem a little messy from the outside looking in, but it is a pretty straightforward process. The technology is there to be used if you’re willing. After the writing is done, everything is recorded as a demo and passed on to Dave who goes into the studio without us to record the drums. The drum tracks are passed back to Joel and I. We record all of our parts and hand the near finished songs over to John for him to add leads to. When all of that is done Joel and I will add the finishing touches. It’s rather mundane really, but it works for us.

Of note is the clarity and definition of this release whilst maintaining a sharp, harrowing, almost shrill and nightmarish tone. The bass sits in the back and reinforces the choral nature of the riffs, allowing room for the drums to dominate the centre, overall it comes through as heavily mid-focused. As such, there is not much of either “air” or “bottom end” to the release. This lends to a stifling atmosphere and an atypical sound for this style of music in reference to other bands as well as previous Consummation releases.

The end results proved satisfactory for the band, achieving a sound which was complimentary to the writing and vision.

– A lot of time and thought was put into crafting the guitar parts for this release. The majority of the sections on the album underwent a drawn out evolution from their more primitive inception. Joel also gave careful consideration to the underlying rhythm guitars and massively enhanced the underlying obscurity of a lot of these passages. We opted for clarity as a means to not obscure our efforts behind a murky production. It would have been a waste of carefully executed nuance. A small amount of pride could certainly be added to the reasoning along with straying from the expectation of bands who lean towards dissonance. 

Aside from the drums – which were recorded by Dave’s brother Joseph – and John’s leads, all the recording and mixing was handled in house by Joel. I sat on the side lines and observed for most of this process. We didn’t really start out with an end game in mind other than to create the album with the best tools at our disposal. Joel spent a long period of time mixing, trying to get the best outcome from what we had recorded. I believe he achieved this.

LIVE PRESENTATION

With the completion of their album and the foundation of a new line-up, Consummation can now direct their vision and will towards live audiences once again. Following years of reclusion and contemplation, what atmosphere and experience will the band look to convey?

Consummation hasn’t appeared on the stage for over four years now. There are many reasons for this, some being mundane and others having to do with what I mentioned previously – line up changes and juggling multiple bands etc. A decision was eventually made to put shows aside to allow us to focus solely on writing and recording an album. I can assure you that this is only temporary. Rehearsals have begun now that the album has seen the light of day. As far as future live performances go, all I’ll say is that I hope to deliver something honest that will do the songs justice.


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WITCH VOMIT delivers a precision pounding of death metal pandaemonium on “Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave”

The veil between the realms of the living and the dead appears to thin in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon. Whether it’s carnal aura seeps into the water of the maritime city, or takes to the air, it is without doubt present and deeply rooted in the local, underground music scene, which has become arguably one of the primary gestation points for an ever expanding infestation of young death metal bands rooted in the past. As a perfect representative of the fervent OSDM movement coming from Portland, one need look no further than the depraved juggernaut, Witch Vomit, ascending from the depths on the momentum of their sophomore full length, Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave.

The band’s 2017 EP, Poisoned Blood, electrified the underground with its no bullshit approach and genuine spirit of decayed personality, and has, since its release, only instilled rabid anticipation for what Witch Vomit would expel next. But that time is upon us, as what plethora of shambling riffs, thundering drum hits, and blasphemic aural curses that were interred in to a shared tomb of inspiration have finally conjoined into the hideous conglomerate, Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave, alive and hellbent on bringing the world down with it.

Though many would argue that Poisoned Blood was regrettably brief, Witch Vomit more than make up for it in Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave, which feels perfectly timed, neither fleeting nor overstaying its welcome. There is also a notable cementing of the band’s dynamic as a unit. The songwriting is as tight as it’s ever been, calling on the spirits of the old guard: Entombed, Grave, and even a strain of Bolt Thrower for good measure. Even the shortest track, “Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave” exacts a damnable tax on the listener’s sanity, with a driving riff as hypnotic as the call of a succubus. The wrongness is palpable, but before you can realize it, you’re already fucked and dead.

The stench of raw decay is incensed with spectral horror, as both bass and guitar manifest a stronger atmosphere than has ever been present in the band’s sound before. The instrumental, “Squirming In Misery” vividly evokes the feeling of undeniable defeat, as you are conquered and buried alive. This heightened air of malefaction that runs throughout the record compliments the characteristic primitive dirge that has always been present in Witch Vomit.

“Despoilment” seeks to militarize abysmal legions with a section of fuming double bass chugging strings that embody the speeding tracks of infernal war engines, before exploding into a realm of demoralizing hallucination as the guitars steep their strings in effects to pull the listener into a state of unreality. Are you dead or dreaming?

The drum performance has noticeably risen in its command over each track. Time and time again, the percussion demands your attention, either in dynamic changes of tempo and style, or through the minute implementation of spot on bell and cymbal hits that give the belligerent quaking an added persona. Often times when drawing on influences, either of pioneering bands or genres altogether, it’s the minuscule peculiarities that can make a song remain in the listener’s memory, and not be swallowed up by the jumbled mass of what we each consume in terms of music alone. In that way, the drum performance has never been so detrimental to Witch Vomit’s attack.

Saving it for the very last, “Fumes Of Dying Bodies”, closes the album with nothing short of fucking pandaemonium. Witch Vomit leave you in shock and awe, both that the record is over, and that they may have ended it with the best song of their career thus far. The virtues of songwriting, instrumental ability, and vocal execution all come to a lethal spearhead aimed for the jugular. With that masterful final stroke, Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave comes to a swift conclusion, marking yet another curse upon Portland’s reputation as a home to rampant depravity and horror in the sonic medium.

Pray for death!!!!


20 BUCK SPIN will release Witch Vomit’s Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave on CD, LP, cassette, and digital formats.

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CEREBRAL ROT exhumes ancient graves and dives in head-first on “Odious Descent into Decay”

The True essence of death often lurks within more primitive forms, a cruel undying cancer, miasma evolves from the uncontrolled growth of simple cells. Instead of relying on innovating with new ideas, forgotten knowledge can be revived and and refresh our minds on presently unearthed ideas to fill the unexplained void. Cerebral Rot fills that void completely with new release Odious Descent into Decay.

Dredging up forgotten sounds like exhuming a corpse already twice rotten, Odious Descent is both highly original as well as an expertly crafted tribute to ancient Finnish death metal in its infancy. While last year’s Cessation of Life EP was more streamlined yet still vastly punishing, Cerebral Rot lops the skull off the new release with reckless experimentation to create one of the most memorable death metal albums in recent memory.

The opening track bearing the title of the album is led in with an acoustic passage full of dread, an often overlooked key piece to creating a piece of music that is truly off putting and disgusting. What follows is a hideous maze of concrete beatdown riffs, pulsing blows to gray matter, full of excitement deceiving you of the uncharacteristically long running time of the song. The second track is where the crust begins to peel from the polluted mass of decomposition, aptly named “Swamped in Festering Excrementia”, encapsulating the entire aura and motifs of the album. There is little to impede on how repugnant Cerebral Rot can get. After being led to the sepulcher by distorted vocals and a plodding intro, you bear witness to unbridled filth by one of the most depraved riffs I have heard in years. Simple yet brutally effective, the mid tempo guitar is met note by note by the drums, ridding the line between slow and right in the middle. Its uncanny nature gets inside your head and invokes abominable images from the very recesses of your mind.

Many of the vocal passages on these tracks are downtuned and distorted – gory techniques excavated from bands like Xysma and Necrophiliac. This technique hasn’t been exploited this effectively in quite some time within the realm of true death metal, and is understated in how much of a role it plays in creating such an uneasy ambiance. Riffs are broken up by a clever use of flanger transitions, reeking of fear, as if witnessing flashes of a sinister appendage within the grime of the swamp of sewage. Solos often employ an ingenious use of effects as well, tones fading in and out, a living pulsating creature of its own.

Each track follows the diabolical formulae of foul encrusted guitars and bass, drums with guttural nauseating bass pedals and cymbals of sandpaper slid slowly against the skin, and vocals spewed forth like choleric vomit, ripe with stool. Each solo seems to have its own organic feeling, each its own hideous beast, harkening back to Blessed are The Sick era Morbid Angel. With albums like Odious Descent into Decay and other repulsive abominations similar, the apex of what drives them is the perception of overwhelming fetor, one that makes you feel incredibly unsettled in an aura of oxidizing necrosis that you can almost smell while listening.

Cerebral Rot does not need to rely on tricky riffs and dark sorcery, they prevail by spawning a sound that’s both brutally honest and stunningly violent. Every risk they take adds to their decomposing repertoire, excavating every disintegrated corpse of a bygone era and reanimating the repellent dauntlessness of 90’s gore metal. Ian Schwab and his band of despicable gravediggers spawn one of the most exciting and equally detestable death metal albums in recent memory through sheer blight and barbarous mayhem, where straightforward candor shine through the boughs of the cypress of the morass.


20 BUCK SPIN continues its 2019 campaign of carnage, presenting the tumultuous debut LP from this Seattle US death metal outfit

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HERUKA unveil sacred, wrathful chants in ode to the realized tāntrik sages with “བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa)”

On this particularly auspicious day, Covenant presents the yet unknown and shadowy entity known as Heruka. While grounded in Kathmandu, Nepal, the project reaches far beyond the limits of the material plane striving towards the greater work at hand. Taking inspiration from the ancient Indo-Tibetan Vajrayāna tradition, Heruka’s demo entitled, བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa), is an ode to the realized tāntrik sages of this specific sacred landscape, whose wisdom minds dwell in the indivisibility of bliss and emptiness.

While seemingly brief, the demo itself contains a potency rarely experienced in wholly realized albums and musical projects all together. At only two tracks, the first “དུས་གསུམ་སངས་ (Dusum Sangye)”, is a ritual ambient hymn sung in the Tibetan language, paying homage to Guru Padmasambhava, an 8th century Indian Mahāsiddha (Great Adept), who is credited with establishing Vajrayāna in Tibet. The second, “བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa)”, is a death/doom and ritual ambient track, which pays homage to the inner and secret aspects of the philosophy, path, unconventional behaviour, and appearance of a realized tāntrik yogin. The track is sung in a mix of Sanskrit, English and Tibetan languages, and it utilizes actual tāntrik ritual implements such as a damaru (hand-held drum), drilbu (ritual bell) and pre-recorded samples of rolmo (‘fierce’ cymbal) and (dung chen) trumpet, which are generally used by practitioners during tāntrik ceremonies in Vajrayāna monasteries or at hermitages. 

First initiated over two years ago, the project’s research work involved an in-depth study of the existing Vajrayāna tradition in the Tibetan lineages that currently thrive in India and Nepal along with a sincere inquiry in its Indic roots. The research work behind the lyrics and ideological concept behind Heruka included a thorough study of different complex aspects of the tradition’s philosophy and soteriology, which was further strengthened after receiving transmissions and teachings from various contemporary Vajrayāna masters hailing from India, Tibet and Bhutan who have meticulously preserved and mastered several outer, inner and secret aspects of the tāntrik path.


We spoke with the figure behind the voice, Padma Vajra. Previously known for his advisory role and vocal contribution to Cult of Fire‘s मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान (Ascetic Meditation of Death) album, the vocalist has since fully immersed himself in research and exploration of the enigmatic Tibetan Vajrayāna tradition and its Indian antecedents.

In the face of flippant misuse of these wisdom traditions in so much modern extreme metal, Padma decided action was needed. “During recent years, it has become somewhat of a trend in the underground metal scene, particularly black metal, to flirt with Eastern mysticism, but unfortunately most acts lack a proper exposure and understanding of the philosophy, soteriology, and symbolism of the myriad traditions, practices and deities that exist in our part of the world,” he states. Padma Vajra is no new comer to metal music nor the spiritual currents of which he delves, he clarifies that “as a student of the Vajrayāna tradition of Tibet, and as someone truly invested in the underground music scene, I felt an urge to create an honest and true-to-the-roots musical project to pay homage to the spirit of the Tantric Buddhist tradition for kindred spirits who are equally interested in the mystical and the obscure.”

Despite its brevity, བརྟུལ་ཞུགས་སྤྱོད་པ་ (Tulzhug Chöpa) represents the culmination of years of research, dedication, and hard work. “A lot of work went behind the research and understanding required for a project dealing with the inner aspects of Vajrayāna,” he says. “It involved visiting Tantric temples, monasteries and power places, understanding Tibetan ritual, academic research, and most importantly meeting authentic Vajrayāna masters in India and Nepal and receiving their precious teachings and blessings.” Padma tells us that the influence of these teachings are leveraged in Heruka’s music to “pay homage to the ‘male’ aspect of Vajrayāna tradition and especially to Guru Padmasambhava, the 8th century Indian Tantric master, who established Vajrayāna in Tibet.” In fact, even this exact unveiling is calculated to infuse even greater potency, as he explains, “the digital release of the demo also coincides with the 10th day of the current Tibetan month, as per its lunar calendar. This date is very special as its connected with Guru Padmasambhava, commonly known as Guru Rinpoche in Tibet and in the Himalayan tradition in general, and broadly the male aspect of Vajrayāna tantra.”


Soon to be released into physical format through SERPENTS HEAD REPRISAL on tape cassette.

The cover art was drawn by Visionis Phosphorescent, paying ode to the Indian style of Vajrayāna sculpture, which was prevalant in the epochal Pala Empire (8th-12th centuries). Vocals and ambient tracks/recording in conjunction with SISTER

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Review

LLYN Y CWN leads excursions into the depths of night to confront “Twll Du”

Llyn y Cwn is an up and coming dark ambient unit from Wales, heavily influenced by the countryside from which the project spawned. The name “Twll Du” is in fact the name of a gorge in Wales known as the Devil’s Kitchen, where smoke from the depths is occasionally seen rising. It’s rare in the wide world of underground music that we’re exposed to the many treasures this nation holds.

From the outset, this is a rather minimal work focusing a lot on deep dark drones and what appear to be cavernous field recordings. You get a lot of that similar feeling as “deep ambient” artists like Amon occasionally generate, building layer upon layer of deep tones in order to generate a feeling of wide open spaces and deep chasms, but by the second track things take a much darker turn as the deep dirges and foreboding melodies kick in.

This isn’t just a nature walk or cavernous excursion, but the suggestion of something much more sinister and profound is lurking just out of sensory reach through the minimal melodies that act like a guide throughout this journey. Occasionally reminiscent of some of the darker moments of Dense Vision Shrine or even Vinterriket, though the ghostly atmosphere here is much more present and oppressive, like a thick tension in the air as one enters a haunted area.

On a whole, this is actually a very simple release. We never really get to see or hear what’s beyond the sinister door, but what we get instead is a very moody walk through the bowels of night, through foreboding landscapes, and a bit of a tour around the rim of the abyss without really falling in. Probably the best listening experience reading your favorite dark fantasy work by candlelight while this album throbs its magic through your headphones, or out for a walk through a mountainous landscape at night.


Presented by COLD SPRING RECORDS in a 6-panel digipak with breathtaking photography by the artist.

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Review

MYLINGAR sink deeper into realms of ferocity and fear on the trilogy concluding “Döda Själar”

Almost as soon as Miscarriage stopped dropping that pavement slab onto everyone’s heads, along come Mylingar with another torso dragged up from the bottom of the septic tank. A haunting, mysterious force from some ineffable tomb, the Swedes forge a savage and singular death metal tradition all their own.

Named for the myth of unbaptised orphan ghosts searching endlessly for lone travellers who could carry them to a consecrated burial ground, the output of these Swedes is decidedly briefer – forty minutes, in fact – but no less disturbing. A hymnal to abuse, suffering and humiliation, Döda Själar is a disorientating morass that strangles listeners throughout, a fetid black/death crossover that draws comparisons from Pissgrave and Revenge to Blut aus Nord and latter-day Mayhem.

With relentless, ferocious drums swelling beneath, guitars stab and slash, switching from amphetamine-tipped chainsaws to tramadol-laced machetes effortlessly in seconds. This is best displayed during the final two tracks, both of which open with a riff seemingly reincarnated from the ordnance that spent the 1950s flattening Micronesian palm trees. The firestorm eventually collapses into a loop squealing in unison with guitar feedback, the latter croaking and crackling like a Geiger counter, the former clawing and scraping as the coffin lid is forced shut.

The mylingar of medieval Sweden would throw tantrums and increase in size if a host could not find them a grave quickly, gradually smothering the carrier. Let the rancid, heinous squalor of Döda Själar overtake and overwhelm you, forcing you into your own early grave before continuing its eternal search.


20 BUCK SPIN has delivered the haunting Döda Själar on CD and LP from this mysterious death cult.

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