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And here’s another batch of blackness from a trio of labels across Europe, with their recent to upcoming rosters covered within…

Avaunt!

Grafvitnir – NâHásh (Clavis Secretorvm) (February 14)

Poorly produced if overly familiar take on black metal out of Sweden.

It’s very late 90’s in feel, arguably pulling in some light Norwegian vibe to
what’s otherwise very much a Swedish affair, somewhere between
“Norsecore” and “black/death” and pulling elements from both without
slotting comfortably into either.

Vox are pretty nasty, somewhere between Horna, Ancient and the Italian
school (I’m thinking a bit of early Theatres des Vampires, but you get
the general idea here), with the guitars working something in the realm of
Dark Funeral as filtered through Watain, but somehow it comes off a bit less
slavish in its copycatting than usual…or maybe just sitting through so much
black and death metal for the last few weeks worth of reviews is making the
blur a tad more distinct than most folks would be likely to pick out.

Of course, we could be getting punch drunk from all of this mediocrity,
too…hey, it’s always a possibility!

Either way, it’s pretty workaday, and while it feels a bit less locked into
template than usual, it’s still nothing to really write home about…or to put a
positive spin on it, just one more among so many others of like mind.

NEDXXX – (NoEvDia) (December 13)

Pointless proselytization from one of those “occult black metal” acts.
There’s not much actual music to all this, it’s mostly spoken word
samples and noise, but occasionally there are brief bursts of activity that
cross blackened something or other with grindcore just to alleviate the utter
boredom that ensues.

Doom, gloom, the end of the world, yabba dabba doo, fuck you too.

WHIZZ!!!!

Damn, that was an actual explosion! I’d think someone threw old cans of
hairspray or a propane tank into the Pyre of Dead Bards…

…but nah, it was just a complete piece of shit.

Next?

Teitanblood – The Baneful Choir (NoEvDia) (October 18)

We’d covered these detuned buzzing bee “underground black/death” Spaniards for Death about 6 years back, and more or less gave ’em a shrug of the shoulders.

The fact that they haven’t progressed a bit in all this time isn’t exactly a red
star moment for ’em.

(shrugs shoulders, yawns)

Whatever.

Next?

SAMMAS’ EQUINOX & EMANATING VOID – Temples of Ice (Signal Rex) (January 31)

We’d covered the former act’s demo compilation Pilgrimage/Boahjenasti a
year back, and liked at least part of the first demo…the second didn’t fare so well, with its overreliance on annoying faux-symphonic keyboard drones.

This time around, they keep that sort of thing to a minimum, appropriately
closing out the otherwise noisy, raw and grinding track with a dramatic flair.
It’s not bad, structurally speaking, and there’s some atmospheric moments
like the gothic rocklike bass driven section around the 3m mark (which is
unsurprisingly the song’s high point).

Unfortunately, Emanating Void seem to have picked up the slack Sammas
Equinox left off with on the aforementioned second demo, with a lot of
annoying drone tones and simplistic Dark Funeral guitar figures amidst its
would-be death/doom dramatics. Not the worst thing you’re likely to hear,
even among the stuff covered herein…but nothing to write home about.

Looks like Sammas Equinox has at least learned their lesson enough to work
more of the sound they did on their first demo…it’s to the other band’s
detriment that they chose to follow the road Sammas abandoned thereby.

ZALMOXIS – A Nocturnal Emanation (Signal Rex) (January 31)

Oy. “underground black/death” again with some “avantgarde” elements to
boot, this time hailing from Germany.

Oddly, they seem to be pulling in hints of first wave gothic rock/”positive
punk” here, with not merely the tribal drumming, but a lot of the underlying
feel of this deriving from something more along the lines of Southern Death
Cult or Ritual than the sources you’d expect.

Maybe it’s something endemic to the Teutonic spirit…the lines between, say,
a Prophecy Produktions signing and the darkwave of vintage Projekt
Records have always been somewhat blurry and vague, and even a
blustery band like Atrocity bears (and has even more openly borne in
the past) more than just a hint of gothic rock in its sonic toolbox.

Either way…it’s that which salvages this from being just another bleh and
forgettable bit of fodder for the Pile.

Next time drop all the “extreme metal” business and just follow your muse.

KRYPTA NICESTWA – Sarkofagi nocnych zjaw (Signal Rex) (January 31)

A vocalist who comes off somewhere between Gorgoroth’s “Hat” and his
successor “Pest” and a sound that draws somewhat from vintage Arkona
and Infernum…but still manages to sound very much its own entity somehow.

Keyboard inflected, moody, windswept and grim, this at times brings the
moody feel of the more worthy proponents of their country’s scene, while still
never slotting into convenient categories like “symphonic” or “pagan
volkisch”. It’s as hypnotic and forbiddingly obscure in feel as a Les Legions
Noires affair, but still driving and somehow, however tangenitally, “melodic”
to boot.

And this from half of that questionable split with Forest Mysticism?

Works, and impressively well at that.

And here it was starting to look like all of Poland had devolved into
Behemoth worship. Maybe the old spirit isn’t quite dead, yet.

PANTHEON OF BLOOD – Voices Rooted in Blood (Signal Rex) (January 31)

Finnish black metal, so you know exactly what to expect: raw, snarling vocals,
an outwardly rough veneer but a core of pure melodic melancholicism that
often borders on the anthemic.

This is actually a compilation of their rather limited work to date, a demo, a
pair of EPs, a split. From the midpoint of the collection onward, the vocals
go more “clean” (relatively speaking) and the band slows down even more
from what was already leaning a bit (crossover) punk over black metal in
approach, to an increasingly “mainstreamed” (again, relatively speaking)
sound overall.

You’d never confuse these guys for, say, Beastmilk/Grave Pleasures, but it’s
far from typical and yes, probably worth looking into.