Volume Nine, October MMXXI


To inquire about submitting an analog relic for review, contact thecallofthenight@gmail.com.

ARBOR Winter Moon (Self-released)

Taurus has done a remarkably good job at remaining clouded in secrecy. Despite releasing several tapes under various names, to my knowledge they have not been linked to a “personal” Instagram account revealing them to be a member of a hardcore band nor has anyone found them flipping tapes on Discogs. The music speaks for itself and itself alone. In addition to releasing music as Gauntlet Ring and Fellwinter, a new moniker has been minted in the form of Arbor. Opting for a more mid-paced and depressive sound than those other projects, Winter Moon presents fifteen minutes of dark times meditations for the frozen soul in all of us. The high point for me comes on the track “Breath of Night,” which employs an incredibly refreshing but startlingly effective clave-like rhythm. I've never heard drumming like this in black metal; so simple, so sublime. This tape was self-released by the artist, distributed by Blood & Crescent. - R.L.

Arbor <i>Winter Moon</i>

BLANCHE NOIRCEUR Occultum Lapidem (Sombre Rituel)

One of the last Blanche Noirceur releases, a project of prolific Cercle Sombre’s entity, Vvordt. An excellent farewell compilation from this great underground project, showcasing its various facets. Starting with unreleased and re-recorded tracks that are the project’s most clean recordings, and only material with programmed drums and not recorded to tape. This side has some excellent tunes of nightly, freezing black metal in the vein of Sanguine Relic. The compilation also features two rehearsals of ultra-raw, cavernous black metal, carrying Blanche Noirceur’s characteristic decrepit melancholy, more akin to the the Culte Epidémie Noire to which Vvordt was previously associated, and one rehearsal of drone/industrial metal and noise experiments. A very rare release, but that is definitely worthy to buy if you get the chance, compiling one of the best projects from what was a truly genuine and dedicated underground label. - RoP

Blanche Noirceur <i>Occultum Lapidem</i>

BLATTARIA They Seek Power (Harlequinflesh)

Few modern underground black metal bands can approach Blattaria in terms of consistency and focus. Since 2014, the Oklahoma City-based one-man band has released four full-length(-sized) releases, all madly strung together by the same disorienting riff-style and sheer disregard for songwriting conventions. An accomplished musician across all that black metal demands, but, like a giant cockroach alien wearing Arizemenda’s skin, Blattaria again and again has refused black metal’s expectations in favor of insane circus carnage. The songs that compose Blattaria’s latest tape, They Seek Power, ebb and flow with paranoia and unpredictable explosions. One of Blattaria’s strongest and most dynamic releases, They Seek Power proves how the musician behind Blattaria keeps getting better and better at guitar, drums, songwriting as well as recording himself. He also keeps putting cockroaches on his album covers. You gotta respect the consistency. - J. Proust

Blattaria <i>They Seek Power</i>


2021 has been a phenomenal year for splits and the hits just keep coming with this enchanting emanation from Perverse Homage. Midnight Betrothed, one of many projects by Atrocity Altar mastermind:, The Seer, has been undeniably exceptional since their first demo last year and their intoxicating harmonization of romantic dungeon synth with decrepit black metal has only grown more scintillating. The sound, with its heavy reliance on fairly clean synthetic piano, may be a love-or-hate factor for some listeners, but to my ear this project creates some of the most elite advancements of black metal in the modern era. Combining disparate elements of the past to create a modern and original vision of gothic darkness. Think Profanum by-way-of Phantom of the Opera. The A side of this split is occupied by Entrancement. Admittedly, I missed their two previous demo tapes but after this stunning introduction I hope to rectify that posthaste. Very well executed modern-style raw black metal with incredibly tasteful synth augmentation and just enough sharp, aggressive melody to worm into your subconscious. The light brush of glimmering steel against your neck before the blade comes down. Concludes with a stellar synth based piece too well-conceived to dismissively describe as simply an outro track. Must-listen tape. - R.L.

Entrancement/Midnight Betrothed <i>Split</i>

GELID FANE The Stones of Hearg (Saturnian Ring)

The Stones of Hearg, Gelid Fane’s sole release, counts five hits of ‘castle folk,’ which is how the US duo describe their ethereal and intimate sound. The instruments—melancholic guitar chords strummed in a neo-folk fashion—always sound far away, like the memory of a song, and the vocals come across as improvised, almost automatic, like glossolalia. The whole affair passes by rather subtly, like a dream you’d have one afternoon after falling asleep in a field. Afterwards you’d wake up, not quite sure if the images and songs in your head were from your dream or if the spirits of the forest really had come out to visit and dance with you. - J. Proust

Gelid Fane <i>The Stones of Hearg</i>

HARNISCH Rauhnachtsreigen (Two Towers Tapes)

The second demo from this duo based in Klagenfurt, released by the humble but extraordinary label, Two Towers Tapes. Harnisch play a type of raw black metal that is rooted in primitivism and the ‘90s. Feral and rustic in its tone, with shrill guitars that definitely show similarities to demo-era Arckanum, or modern tyrants like Nächtlich or Wulkanaz. Nightly melodies echo with grit and spleen through the impenetrable woods, the sound of a caravan of demented goblins wretchedly lost among the trees, screaming unspeakable sounds. Such is the vocal performance, very reminiscent of the ghoulish screams of acts such as Vetala or early Candelabrum. One can only wish for a new demo to finally be out. Meanwhile a compilation of both demos has been released via Into Endless Chaos. - RoP

Harnisch <i>Rauhnachtsreigen</i>

JERNVED Stormvasel (Self-released)

The Danish underground has been uncommonly fertile in the last few years and this past summer saw the debut of yet another new and very promising act. Jernved unleashed their lengthy debut demo recording Stormvasel with little warning, presenting a sound and vision of black metal more fully developed than many bands achieve on their second or third full-length. Boasting a proper 4 man line-up, Jernved has a robust and hard-rocking aura that I imagine would translate excellently in a live setting. B Side opener “Ulvelist” is the standout track, an excellent blend of majesty and menace. If they added some intro and outro tracks to get this over the 30 minute hump, this could easily pass as a fully matured debut album. While the members can’t be tracked to other bands based on their pseudonyms, I would be shocked to learn they aren’t scene veterans. Tape was self-released by the band, recommended. - R.L.

Jernved <i>Stormvasel</i>

LUCERAN LYCAN HAUNT The Ultimate Fall & Demise of Vampyrism (Path of Silence)

This blood-splattered tape from the sporadically active cult label Path of Silence compiles three demos, a comp track and other previously private songs from the Luceran Lycan Haunt horde, all released antagonistically at the height of vampyric black metal’s popularity in the mid- to late-2010s. Complete with its moonfang relic (mine’s around here somewhere), The Ultimate Fall & Demise… is a perfect if not downright terrifying and frequently jarring little Halloween treat of dark ambient and brutal black mayhemic noise. 24 tracks across two sides and along the way you witness LHH grow from a noisy dark ambient project to the formidable beast we live in fear of today. Impossible to get and yet totally mandatory. - J. Proust

Luceran Lycan Haunt <i>The Ultimate Fall & Demise of Vampyrism</i>

MOSS WITCH Mystic Bloodsport (Moonworshipper Records)

A clever, curious, and ominous exercise in dungeonesque minimalism from our friend the Moss Witch. As we’ve mentioned before in discussing sparsity in synth music, the artist must choose their sounds carefully and well, which Moss Witch has definitely done here. They’ve opted to go directly to tape with a slew of straightforward, chiptune-esque melodies resting on a bed of springy low-end waves, periodically violated by violent, distorted messages from realms beyond. This programmatic little gem is of course best enjoyed on physical analog format, and to that end remains available on cassette from Moonworshipper records as of this writing. - N.B.

Moss Witch <i>Mystic Bloodsport</i>

RITUEL DE PURIFICATION En attendant demain… (Tenebris Templi 333)

The inaugural demo from this project that’s part of the mysterious Cercle Sombre, released on tape via Tenebris Templi 333. Excellent idiosyncratic ritual/black ambient, mixing in elements of musique concrète and drone. Starting off with a somewhat nitid obsession with religious elements, mixing a drone background with what sounds like a church piano and bells chiming. The demo then revolves around a droney, very low-fi barrage as seen on other projects of the circle, like Hvmanitatem, always keeping it dynamic with subtle keys and field recording of crickets and some type of industrial sounds, portraying the very essence of most TT333 projects, a feeling of absolute, horrifying loneliness. -RoP

Rituel de Purification <i>En attendant demain…</i>

SILMARIL Thy Lonesome Journey (Ritual Abuse Records/Self-released)

A rare initiate to the preciously sparse order of Tolkien-oriented dungeon synth/black metal endeavors who truly do right by their master. Thy Lonesome Journey is crafted with the utmost reverence for the shadowy torchbearers of the past, both sonically (the artist opens their mission statement admirably with “worshipping at the altar of Windows 98…”) and stylistically. Silmaril may well have created this project to pay homage to Summoning, but with cuts like the eclectic, blasting melodic black metal mysticism encountered on “Draugluin” and the lush two-part acoustic guitar episode “The Forgotten Hero,” they have kept the flame burning whilst stoking it anew with their own ideas. - N.B.

Silmaril <i>Thy Lonesome Journey</i>

V/A What Sin Hath Twisted (Crown & Throne Ltd)

Four-way splits are all the rage these days and this tape makes it easy to see why. London loner Glemt gets What Sin Hath Twisted started off right with some introductory doomsaying amid atmospheric pain that all leads up perfectly to the ensuing black catharsis. Glemt does well to test the boundaries of the form without rupturing them with their woozy, borderline-jangly black metal style. UVSS’ contribution, with its piercing solos and inhuman drumming, stabs forth with romantic and unique incisiveness. Here, the tape format does well to sublimate the tonal differences between bands like Glemt and UVSS. Crucifixion Bell opens side B and Celestial Sword closes it. It’s difficult to think of more prolific acts than these two and yet they both conjure some of their sickest material here. For his part, The Astral Serpent is in final form on “Ordained in Malkuthian Blood.” Tremulous with blood-frenzy, almost surfy, and positively seeping with malevolent forces contained, this Crucifixion Bell track both exemplifies and stands apart from the rest of his darkly magnificent works. Finally, Celestial Sword takes the listener for a walk through the constellations, deep into icy clouds of despair. - J. Proust

V/A <i>What Sin Hath Twisted</i>

WALLACHIAN COBWEBS Night Sobbed a Potion Diseased (Dungeons Deep Records)

The long-awaited (by this author) follow up to Wallachian Cobwebs’ 2019 standout Hearken to the Moon Whisper is a spellbinding, immersive journey through a world that knows naught but pure dread, gloom, and monstrous, imposing beauty. The obscure and relatively quiet, brooding terrors spawned on this project’s acclaimed debut are matured and emboldened here, dragging listeners ever more forcefully through their wretched world with martial orchestral percussion, humongous strings and choirs, and WC’s signature passion for vintage horror film samples. A vocal appearance by none other than the masterful Old Tower is an excellent and telling addition to Night Sobbed a Potion Diseased, indicating just how far into the mantle of dungeon synth Wallachian Cobwebs’ work has seeped. - N.B.

Wallachian Cobwebs <i>Night Sobbed a Potion Diseased</i>