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TREPANERINGSRITUALEN turns back towards primal urges with “ᛉᛦ — Algir; eller Algir i Merkstave”

Trepaneringsritualen, for anyone who’s been following the darkest corners of the post-industrial underground over the last fifteen years or so, needs no introduction. Building up a reputation for their punishing live performances, pounding rhythms, heavy-as-fuck bottom end noise, and lyric-driven orations of apocalypses, bringing back to mind some of the raw-as-decaying-meat moments of groups like SPK, NON, or even In Slaughter Natives. However, this time around Mr. Ekelund has decided to take a subdued route this time with a very minimal ritual ambient release.

Simplicity, desolation, and sparseness is the approach this time around, as a near-complete departure from the straightforward industrial assault previously developed over their last two records. ᛉᛦ — Algir; eller Algir i Merkstave is a collection of unsettling sounds, sparsely placed chimes, whispers, horns, something resembling a waterphone, and deep bassy drones carried out in two ordeals, each being exactly 19 minutes long. Whether or not that would turn off fans of their more vocal work, it really speaks more to the primal ritualistic elements of the band’s genesis. Throughout the record, the sense of tension and encroaching fear never leaves, as our instinctual sense of unease is triggered by our natural reactions toward high and low frequencies of sound, that same sense of inexplicable queasiness we feel when hearing certain unexplained sounds in nature or haunted areas, setting our teeth on edge.

The second half turns more toward elements of tranquility and gives off a general atmosphere of rebirth, after experiencing “death” in the first half. Towards a new plane of experience, yet having to go through pain and fear in order to emerge on the other side. After experiencing the overpowering darkness of Deathward to the Womb, the relentless hammering of Perfection & Permanence, or the slight nods to industrial accessibility in Kainskult, this really doesn’t resemble much of TxRxP’s other works, but feels like a new piece of the mosaic being filled. This is a multidimensional beast with so many sides to their mystic view of the world and the darkness lying just beneath the veil to explore and be expressed. It will be interesting to see what next turn their journey takes in their ever evolving excursions into the murky caverns of existence.

As we head into the autumn season after having the world set on fire the last few months, this release provides the perfect soundtrack for settling down into some place dark, letting the shadows overcome your thoughts, and peering anew at new possibilities for the future as one who rises from the ashes, and still hasn’t lost their lust for the fire.


Released into the wild by COLD SPRING RECORDS on CD in 6-panel digipak and Limited first edition LP of 500 copies on 180g black vinyl.

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Premiere Spirit

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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Covenant Records Premiere

AOS SI exalt the otherworldly on “Volume I”: Full Album Debut

It is at this interstice that Covenant is proud to release the long awaited first volume of the music of Aos Sí. Concisely titled Volume I, the band has meticulously honed and shaped this release over the last two years.

Featuring music firmly routed in the realms of mythology, dream, and the fantastic, Volume I is an album that explores the worlds that lie beyond the senses, conjuring images of hosts of phantoms, sprawling landscapes, old spells, and other dimensions.

In these 6 songs, totaling 24 minutes, the band takes you on a journey that is filled all at once with whimsical highs, ensnaring lows, and ultimately the triumph of the Hero’s Journey -in which both the adept and the listener are transported in mythic process.

Sayeth vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Culain of the album:

Scrying the roots of our collective Ancestors, Aos Sí’s journey begins in Volume One (V.I) with the experimental weaving of estranged myths, dreams, psychedelic rituals, and our alchemical reality, all flown by and through gripping folk instrumentation and otherworldly voices, to encapsulate an experience of self discovery in the face of the wholly other.

The artistic direction of the album was handled by none other than Mexican legend Arturo Albarran of the Cold Poison Design institute. On top of carefully crafting a brilliant and evocative cover for the record, so too has he pieced together a visually stunning music video for the song ‘Oratio Draconis’.

While the band handled all the recording and mixing of the record themselves, mastering was taken care of by X.T. of Studio Tehom in Montreal, providing a robust, rich, and immersive finish to the songs.

The band will be making their first ever live performance in a collaborative effort with Night Profound at Covenant Festival V in Vancouver.


Aos Sí Volume I is out now digitally on Covenant Records on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, and of course available on the band’s BandCamp page.

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