Tape Wyrm XXXIII: Black Metal Bandcamp Tape Wyrm XXXIII: Black Metal Bandcamp

I have wanted to do something with Bandcamp metal. In fact, I have wanted to do this for while. I just never thought it would be with black metal. So, before the end of the year lists come out and we all throw confetti up with jubilation and then look at our watches and realize we should have been in bed hours ago, I wanted to celebrate ground level metal with unsigned, independent, and possibly out of the way metal bands which inhabit the lands of Bandcamp. I have already sung the praises of Bandcamp as it offers a direct connection between artists and fans without the use of middle management and eye gouging advertisements. I could spend an entire year listening to free and low priced albums from this service. In my constant praise for this site I met Max from a site called Metal Bandcamp, which acts as a filter to the entire Bandcamp catalog and presents nicely organized and searchable blogs and reviews. Through various conversations, Max and I came up with a list of 2012 releases that turned out to be black metal. Damn it. Just roll with it.

Whether by accident or choice, black metal seems to take up a large space of not only metal music but metal music at an independent level. Bandcamp as a site allows one person projects to exist along side of other acts. Because of this equality demos, Eps, and one track songs can be disseminated without the pressure of playing live or having physical merchandise. It is a megaphone for black metal musicians and a place where their music can thrive. I understand that black metal existed before the age of the internet but it is so interesting and surprising to see it grow with the addition of this and services like it.

Below are 12 picks that represent a fraction of decent black metal made in 2012, which then represent a fraction of decent metal made this year. And so on and so on. One man, duos, and full bands are presented with varying interpretations on black metal from across the globe. Thank you Metal Bandcamp for answering my phone calls. I will stop coming over and pestering you after midnight. Rest now darling, I won’t hide in your closet anymore. Enjoy the article. Prices for downloads of the records are indicated below with numerical values, Name Your Price [NYP] as well as Free downloads. I do this not because I glean any revenue rather to promote the economy of independent heavy metal. Darkness trickle down.

Metal Bandcamp


Wildernessking – The Writing of Gods in the Sand

[$5] Holy shit, do we get to start out in South Africa? Fuck yes. In my ever growing interest in global metal I am always pleased to find other acts that reside outside the western sphere. I have a healthy obsession with South East Asian metal and I have most of my chips placed on Africa for being the next blossoming center. Northern or Southern. The middle may be a little bit later. As far as intensity goes, Wildernessking can hold its own in the imaginary wrestling match I am proposing. Shrieking and strained vocals placed against the backdrop of post rock influenced instrumentation. While the music is above average and extremely competent, Wildernessking gets an above average mark for emotional display as the Writing of Gods in the Sand resonates with optimism for the natural in a tangent of echoing cries. Did they really name one of their songs after the Italian river Rubicon? I love this so much.


Obolus – Lament  

[FREE] Obolus comes to us on the wings of Flenser Records. Flenser records has already put out a dazzling catalog this year with Wreck and Reference, Coffinworm, Bosse-De-Nage, and the split with Deafheaven playing a Mogwai song. All great things large and small. While Obolus presents an atmospheric variety of black metal, their thematic quality is far from transcendental or anything remotely positive. This is depressive black metal which pours down like a never ending storm of sulfur and steam. This is the band’s debut EP, which nears a 20 minute running time. Perhaps I am still taken aback at any sort of black metal that is relatively short. Brief, powerful, and completely stricken with melancholy. Come down rain. Come down.


Vattnet Viskar  – Vattnet Viskar

[$4] This was one of the only picks that was sent to me by Max with a note attached. “This is just so fucking good! Love, Max.” I believe that even if Max did not make mention of this album, this short 26 minute release would have caught my attention. It is really good. Vattnet Viskar takes the very familiar template of atmospheric black metal and makes it memorable. Not with any gimmicks or additions but just by competent performance and an impeccable sense of timing. Breaks are exactly where they need to be. Crescendos dip and dive allowing the listener to well up with excitement. Everything is near perfect on this release. This also comes from New Hampshire which is awesome because I cannot think of any other New Hampshirian metal band. I am sure there are some. Its like the Pacific Northwest right?


The Great Old Ones – Al Azif

[€4.99] Fuck, alright. The Great Old Ones actually were cut from a previous article dealing with my own personal mixtape to Lovecraft. There was no real reason to cut it other than I needed to make room for the Reanimator movie and silly HP Lovecraft Musicals. Now is the time to right the wrongs. The Great Old Ones are a French Lovecraftian themed atmospheric black which leans heavily on the post rock side of the style. Their music rests right in the center of heavy landscapes and raspy vocals. In fact the whole project can be thought of as a standard post rock act that suddenly became obsessed with Lovecraft rather than turn of the century landscape paintings. The Great Old Ones have a unique sound which rests at the intersection between contemporary post rock, atmospheric black metal, and literary horror. There I made peace with the old ones. Please do not consume me.


Kuxan Suum – Kuxan Suum

[NYP] This is technically a compilation, yet it was released by the very excellent Fallen Empire which should be your next stopping point. I also wanted to drop by Kuxan Suum to see what he…they… it was up to. I first ran across Kuxan Suum in relation to the Black Twilight Circle, a group of southern Californian bands devoted to Aztec heritage. Their natural way of expressing this? Psychedelic, lo-fi black metal in the tradition of the Norwegian second wave. Sure, why not? Kuxan Suum is a compilation collection of not only a 2010 demo but an unreleased Principle of Harmonic Resonance, which is flat out amazing. Go Black Twilight Circle. Go Fallen Empire. Go Pre-colmbian black metal.


Mare Cognitum – An Extraconscious Lucidity  

[NYP] One of the greatest aspects about metal at the local level is the ability to converse and have conversations with the creators. For the most part, the creators of the project are more than willing to chat and discuss things. I am not advocating bugging black metal musicians via email, though the option is always there. Enter Mare Cognitum, a musician who I became acquainted with after discovering his music on Reddit’s r/metal and subsequent appearance on my podcast. There are a lot of things to enjoy about Mare Cognitum and his new album An Extra Conscious Lucidty. First is an interesting performance of accessible yet fierce black metal. Another is an interesting thematic angle which includes the vastness and mystery of sea and space. This sophomore follow-up to an equally strong debut in 2011 is yet another mark for a musician who is more than willing to respond to my emails. Thanks for being my friend.


Interpreter – Introspection

[NYP] I was worried at first about an entire article on Bandcamp black metal. If it was not for Max’s diligence in excavating interesting picks, I fear we would have been in trouble. What is happening in the Southern United States? Well, a lot of shit for one. As if my life was missing a mixture between progressive sludge and black metal, Interpreter steps in to comfort me. There is a certain desire which bands like Thou, Deadbird, and even Tombs satisfy. It is the need for dark and heavy music which feels like it has some momentum and carries one on a journey. Black metal’s partnership with a progressive structure has already been documented by bands like Enslaved and Emperor and works up to a healthy relationship with Interpreter. Introspection is a progressive jazz record which got caught in a blizzard or a black metal record that went to Berkeley for a few years. One of the two. To be quite honest I thought everyone in the south was going to have a beard and smell like a marijuana field. Color me surprised. I still think at least one of you has a beard. I can just feel it.


Imperial Triumphant – Abominamentvm  

[$10] Holy Jesus God. I do not know what I am having a more difficult time with. Pronouncing the title of this record or placing it within the actual dimensional space of this reality. New York, you’re so crazy and weird with your black metal. Everything tastes and smells like complicated concrete. While the band plays a standard and above average style of second wave black metal, there is something unsettling about them as if the air around this band distorts reality. I feel dizzy listening to this record and it is completely exciting. This is probably due to the fact the band possesses some exemplary technical flourishes yet is careful not to flaunt them. Abomi-na-men-tvm. If I could chisel the name of this record into a block of marble I would.


Wilds Forlorn – We the Dammed

[FREE]I forget where I first saw this record. I think it may have been on a site with less than reputable motives. I remember when I interviewed the creator of Wilds Forlorn about his thoughts on having his music on a torrenting site. He couldn’t have been more pleased. I am not making any grand claims about file sharing I just find this fact interesting and slightly humorous. Get off my lawn you damn kids. This is one of my favorite releases this year despite any level of commercial participation. I still find it pleasing to see this for free still on Bandcamp. Wilds Forlorn is a Dutch black metal project consisting of the very talented Yuri Theuns. We the Dammed is a spectacular follow-up to a 2010 debut that, to be honest, I just heard this year. Not only is it contemporary in terms of its instrumentation but it is traditional in using music as a cahtatic drunken punch aimed at existence. Yuri is a very warm and inviting individual which I can only assume is because he leaves all of that other stuff in his albums. Fantastic record. Fantastic project. Fantastic find.


Anicon – Anicon

[4$] Oh New York, what are you back for a second round? I can only imagine a maze of steel and concrete can produce some complicated and visceral brand of music. Anicon is a Brooklyn duo who make a form of black metal that feels like a punch to the face on a cold day. No seriously the other music is more like a punch on a warm day. This leaves a stinging feeling afterward. Anicon takes their image very seriously and avoids offering any pictures and information. This is a strong debut EP and leads me to avoid New York City for the next few years. Thanks guys, you made your city like Kadeth. Excellent work, now I am never going to visit again unless your band stops punching me in the damn nose.


Yaylal – Sathimasal 

[5$] The last time I visited Turkey for music it was for their brilliant psychedelic scene of the mid 70’s. I also occasionally dipped back for some 80’s pop music, but that is neither here nor there. This is a bit different though both give me the same feeling. I may just be biased but I whole heartily embrace global metal with open arms. Turkey is not know for its black metal scene so hearing a one man project, especially at this caliber, is exciting. Well to be honest its damn amazing. Not only is the music wonderful, the vocals are barely existent as they are more a part of a depressive wall of noise. I am thankful for this article as Sathimasal is one of the most enjoyable records of 2012 that I almost missed. All Hail Turkey, the land of shimmering psych, poğaça, and harrowing black metal


Auroch – From Forgotten Worlds

[7$] We end not with a completely black metal pick but something that might catch your interest. Yes. Yes. Yes. I keep forgetting about Canada in terms of extreme metal. Auroch is from Vancouver and since the weather up there is inhospitable, I imagine there is only drinking, eating rich foods, and making vicious blends of black/death. Black/death in the terms of an even split between guttural growls and shrieking rasps. Black/death in terms of an even split between classic death metal instrumentation and blast beat flourishes. I immediately fell in love with this record because of the cover. Besides looking like downloadable content from Skyrim, it perfectly illustrates the band’s love for dark mysticism and extraterrestrial horror. Holy god those vocals sound other-worldly. Please give me some more warm soup. Its going to be a cold winter.

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