Top Album Jamz Of 2017

Into the void itself with this year’s list…..better grab a pen and piece of paper.

2017 for the most part has been a life-changing year for myself. So much has happened after the 1 year anniversary of starting this blog it feels like I’m now starting life all-over again. It’s fucking great though. I’m sure a few people are wondering why I haven’t been more ‘vocal’ about things lately. Truth be told I’m tired at trying to drive a nail through a concrete bunker wall. I haven’t given up on this by any means, I’m still working at it. But for now I’m re-assessing my priorities because bitching and whining about what he-said/she-said and then coming in with my two cents doesn’t exactly help the idea of civil online discourse especially when I drop an F-bomb every five seconds in typical black Irish fashion. If anything I add on to the ever-growing online social media dogpile that happens whenever someone says something. And may be I’m finally growing…..older…..not old. I’m still 34 for fuck’s sake. But hurtling towards 35 with a kid on the way is showing me that there’s more to life than trying to stay on top of the online bitch fest. That part has gotten old by itself. So if you don’t see me adding my 2 cents on to whatever someone says, I’m simply not giving them the attention and clicks they deserve. I say just let ‘them’ be blissfully unaware at the lack of their logic and reasoning and continue to indulge in their utopian pipe dream all while completely ignoring history.

With that said, again it’s been nothing but positive change and personal growth for me. I can honestly say as 2017 has had it’s challenges, what with hurricanes and surgeries, part-time jobs, scoring my ever first professional interview for Noisey of all places, meeting and talking to a lot of cool people (both in-person and online), etc. It’s been keeping me on my toes. Most of all I found the love of my life. My wife and I are now building our lives and expecting our very first child within the upcoming year. So I am grateful. I’m grateful that everyone has helped supported Esoterica Codex be it by spreading the word via mouth, sharing, clicking that like button and commenting on my shit as well as checking out the bands I talk about and also giving me hails. With that said….here are the top 20 jamz to help make 2017 a pretty kick-ass year.

1). Paradise LostMedusa (Nuclear Blast)

This should be no secret by now. Anyone who knows me personally knows how much I am a massive fan of the UK’s lords of Doom. In PL’s case, it’s the case of the old dog improving on old tricks and showing the young puppers what the to do when the master summons for thy bidding. With the exception of the other Doom Metal-related bands on this list, this album alone wiped the slate clean of shitty Sleep-worship stoner rock bands having the audacity of calling themselves “doom metal.” And a proper return to their Death-Doom roots of 1991’s “Gothic” and 1992’s “Shades Of God.” Depression never felt so euphoric.

2). UlverThe Assassination Of Julius Caesar (House Of Mythology)

Shocked to find this artist on the list towering over the rest of the rather gloomy, subversive, and doom-laden? Well, reason why this is so high is the significance of this album and how it pertains to being the soundtrack to my life having such a dramatic change. Ulver doing Depeche Mode synth-pop with proper justice. It’s the album that has helped me at various times relax and clear my head that is swarming with obsessions over music and my blog and helped me pause for a minute and enjoy life. Not a lot of albums make me do that.

3). Drab MajestyThe Demonstration (Dais Records)

I keep coming back to this album for so-many unexplained reasons. Who knows why. For me it’s like a memory of a youthful feeling that’s so far away that trying to grasp it is depressingly out of your reach even though it’s already in your hands. I don’t know if that makes any sense. But I do know what makes sense: this album is fucking sweet. I constantly get lost in this album. Alongside Ulver, Drab Majesty are currently making the sweetest non-Metal jamz to seriously fuck with.

4). Spectral VoiceEroded Corridors Of Unbeing (Dark Descent Records)

Hype! That’s all I hear. But then who ISN’T hyped these days? I can name some but I refuse to give those ‘artists’ the attention of time of day. Spectral Voice was the unexplained Old One that Blood Incantation was summoning with 2016’s “Starspawn.” I’m not sure what it is they were trying to summon, but it’s weird and pissed-off whatever it is.

5). FINArrows Of A Dying Age (Folter Records)

If I can pin-point on a US black metal band that does the old-school sound with justice and no bullshit Euro-worship gimmicks, it’s Chicago’s very own sons of darkness, FIN. They totally capture the days of all of us here in the States listening to Painiac/Sombre Records releases and then throwing our North American take on that. It’s deadly, it’s an agressive, manic, pissed-off middle finger to everything that is false. It’s old-school, it’s melodic, and yet it’s a perfect snapshot of how black metal in 2017 SHOULD sound like as opposed to it trying to be something it’s not which is ‘post-modern. Fucking yuck. Support for FIN is total support for US Black Metal showing what the fuck it can do when it properly flexes it’s muscles.

6). HauntHaunt (Independent/Self-Released)

Truly the most disgusting and NECRO fucking black metal record of 2017, and quite possibly some-time. Haunt is like if you dug up the corpse of Mayhem’s Dead, Euronymous and Bathory’s Quorthon, put them in some dank, wet basement with a 4-track recorder to capture the spirit of what once was. But enhanced the cold and grave-like atmosphere with a weird digital/white noise edge to the guitar riffs and overall sound. Taste the grave dear readers, it’s been waiting for you.

7). LossHorizonless (Profound Lore Records)

The lords of US Funeral Doom are back with their second album and all the pain and misery in the world. There isn’t words enough to justify just how this album overshadowed the entire Doom Metal genre of 2017 at the right moment and at the right time. Prepare to suffer.

8). ImmolationAtonement (Nuclear Blast)

The classiest band in Death Metal are back with a new record with their old-school logo from their classic 90’s albums. Fuck yes.

9). Chaos MoonEschaton Moon (Blood Music)

Comprising of members from Krieg, Skaphe‘, Conqubine, Esoterica, Martrod, etc. this album is a beautiful example of how to do modern-day atmosphere correctly for a U.S. black metal band. Also included is the nightmarish artistic visions of Jef Whitehead who help paints the hymns to the end-times. Extremely fitting for 2017.

10). Forgotten KingdomsCrowned In Forlorn Darkness (Tour de Garde)

If there was one thing I thought would never come back to bring some form of joy in my more mature years, it was the worship and appreciation of the dark ambient snyth work of Norway’s Mortiis – or as it is now officially called “Dungeon Synth.” And out of all the Dungeon Synth material I have listened to in 2017, this one hit a mark that nobody else did. Where most other DS projects and artists are doing their best to frolick thru the shire to take the ring to Mordor, Azgorh channels the dark ambient synth of old-school Beherit and stretches it out to an entire demo-length.  Highly fukking recommended.

11). IntegrityHowling For The Nightmare Shall Continue (Relapse Records)

Integrity goes black metal? That’s what a low of people have said, but not really. But what I do know that this is by far their best fucking album since 1996’s “Humanity Is The Devil.” It’s an album that showcases all of not only their strong-points but how the band is still able to think outside of the proverbial Hardcore/Metal/Punk box and show what REAL crossover music CAN be.

12). Full Of HellTrumpeting Ecstasy (Profound Lore Records)

Returning from the mines of that rusted out area of Central Pennsylvania, FoH come blazing back with another fucked-up mixture of Grindcore/Death Metal/Hardcore/Noise/Electronic and god knows what else that managed to sneak into their young but lively and thriving mixture of genres.

13). Spirit AdriftCurse Of Conception (20 Buck Spin)

I wish I could put this album higher than where I’m putting it. It’s just that goddamn good of a fucking classic/traditional Doom Metal album. Again, no stupid fucking Sleep-stoner worship. No ramblings about smoking pot when though the riffs on this album ARE dank as fuck. Nope, just a side-project of the boiz in Arizona’s Gatecreeper laying down some of the best riffs/melodies outside of the like of Greg McKintosh of Paradise Lost and Kirk Windstein of Crowbar. Don’t worry….it’s more traditional/epic Doom Metal than in it is Sludge-y NOLA-style. Do not miss out on this.

14). Old TowerSpectral Horizons (Vinyl re-issue of demo via Tour De Garde)

I would have given this spot to Fief, another excellent DS artist but I felt this was the closest that could come next to the high mark that Forgotten Kingdoms hit. This is about as close as one wants to get to actual old-school Mortiis-worship without being called ‘worship’ or the dreaded ‘rip-off’ label. As it stands, Old Tower are one of the torchbearer’s to a newly-founded sub-genre that sure to stay around for quite some time.

15). Impetuous RitualBlight Upon Martyred Sentience (Profound Lore)

Metal fans didn’t get a new Portal album this year, so this will perfectly do and take the crown for the Cavernous-sounding Death Metal album of 2017. It’s a spiral down into the abyss itself. WEEEEEEEEE!!!!

16). Chis StapeltonTraveller (RCA Studios)

Here is 2017’s “Wild Card Album.” I know what you are thinking, so there is no need to say it. I do that for you; what the fuck is Chris Stapelton doing surrounded in this list of Metal and god-knows-what-else. And an album from 2015 of all things? Well in case any of y’all start to forget, you’re favorite blogger IS a long haired/bearded/tattooed Florida man from the great state and bayous of Louisiana. With a newly-found family that extends up to the hills of South Carolina. That said, I AM going to be a little bit of a loud-mouth redneck minus waving the confederate flag( unless you get some white wine in me 😛 ). I’ve always preached to never forget your roots under any circumstances. And if you wanna know where I tend to get my highly opinionated and middle finger to everything politically correct…..well now you know. Besides, I enjoy me some good-ol’ shit-kicking redneck jamz. Good shit to drive around to while giving your finger to ‘the man.’

17). Rope SectPersonae Ingratae/Proselytes (Iron Bonehead Productions)

2017 has been a quiet year for Post-Punk/Death Rock. With the exception of the latest Grave Pleasures album, it seems like the end-of-the-world party soundtrack has ended and now the hangover and reality of a world truly teetering to it’s end times madness is coming into fruition. Nobody said it was going to be pretty. And so isn’t Rope Sect. This compilation of both of their 2017 releases shows that may be it time to stop partying and start getting down to serious business.

18). Drowning The LightVarcolaci Rising (Dark Adversary Productions)

I was a bit late to this one this year. This is one of a limited handful of black metal releases this year that managed to stick around. Azgorh of DTL/FK is on a fucking roll this year with not 1 but 2 releases that I feel are a culmination of the best parts of his music/career in a very long time. Considering how much this dude puts out, it’s great to see that there is more of a filtering process. That’s not a slur or sign of disrespect either. I just feel that the gentleman is getting better even though I still enjoy some of his older material. Can’t wait to see where he goes from here.

19). NecrotBlood Offerings (Tankcrime Records)

Death Metal the way it’s supposed to be fucking play. End of discussion. Total fukking support!

20). UndergangMisantropologi (Dark Descent Records)

Last but not least and rounding out this year is Denmark’s Undergang. I caught them in Tampa live at The Brass Mug this past summer for the support of “Misantropologi” and it was pure fun. That’s really how I can sum up Undergang is just a no-thrills fun death metal band to enjoy live.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (more jamz that you should seek out and give no-less of total fukking support to):

Convulsing/Siberian Hell Soundssplit (Art As Catharsis Records)
Future TerrorWe’re All Fucked (Black House Industries)
Poison Bloods/t (Relapse Records)
Tchonorbogs/t (Fallen Empire Records)
Bell WitchMirror Reaper (Profound Lore Records)
Power TripNightmare Logic (Southern Lord Records)
The Lurking FearOut Of The Voiceless Grave (Century Media)
KreatorGods Of Violence (Nuclear Blast)
Artificial BrainInfared Horizon (Profound Lore Records)

And that about rounds up this year as far as the jamz go. Until next time, keep on jammin’ in the free world.


The Song Of A Long Forgotten Ghost: A Beginner’s Guide To Dungeon Synth Music Part 2 (The Goblin King)

Upon first doing this short series, I won’t lie and admit I was a bit hesitant. Why? Various reasons. None negative, but for the most part I sadly felt that this was a new fad that would shortly start going the usual route of so many before. But then having a few of my close friends basically elbowing me and saying “Dude, check this shit out!” I more or less let go of all pretenses and started listening to this new form of synth music while at work with an open mind. I don’t know what happened in my warped dank mind still reeling from my surgery and dealing with the aftermath Hurricane Irma. May be it had to do that I finally didn’t have to listen to terrible Top 40 Pop/RnB/whatever type of music blaring thru the overhead speakers at work. But I almost felt a certain wave of nostalgia hit me that I haven’t felt in a good while. Not bad nostalgia, but the good kind when one remembers discovering something for the first time and it leaves such a huge impression on you that it sadly guarantees you to never get laid for the remainder of your life. At least for me at that particular pre-Internet time frame. I got to re-discover something that I had locked in the dusty old attic that is my mind. In a way it helped me use my imagination in a way that I haven’t used it in quite some time. So may be there is something healthy to doing such.

First part of this series I started to go into the roots of Dungeon Synth discussing about several pieces that would go on to influence the now what seems like over-night explosion of Dungeon Synth. But I didn’t really talk or discuss about one massively important artist to the sub-genre. Upon first writing this, I found myself wanting to talk more about his music than just 3 or 4 sentences. I felt that this was a good time to really delve into the gentleman’s discography and give you a good representation of what it was like growing up as a black metal-obssessed teen in the 90’s pre-Internet times. I don’t have keep you in suspense or myself so ladies and gentleman, the moment that both you and I had been waiting for; the man with the pointy ears, hook nose, batwings, and chainmail, and Norway’s most famous troll and Blix’s brother: MORTIIS!

Let’s start at the very beginning with his 1993 demo “The Song Of A Long Forgotten Ghost.” Released on cassette form in June of that year, Mortiis did something completely fucking different. He released an entire demo of dark ambient synth music with zero vocals. That had never been done before by a (former) black metal musician. Be it Norwegian or otherwise. I had noted in the previous part that his fellow Norwegians in Mayhem and Burzum did 1 or 2 songs, but never a full demo. Another big thing was that of the direction he took: minimalist, cheaply-made, and Medieval-sounding. This gentleman was living in 2017 while everyone else was stuck in 1992. By dropping the bass guitar in Emperor and doing a solo project with a Casio keyboard, he would go on to record entire albums of dark ambient music that even in 2017, the influence of his early visions can still be felt.

Mortiis’s 1994 debut album “Født til å herske” is ground zero for Dungeon Synth Music. Released on Malicious Records, and then re-released under his own label Dark Dungeon Records. Hell even the genre name itself is a respectable wordplay on Mortiis’s very own label.  Mortiis went straight for the abstract. Not only furthering the medieval sounds but also adopting the imagery of a mythological Norwegian troll/goblin placing him way beyond your typical panda corpsepaint. It should be noted that even his Norwegian troll/goblin costume would also change from album to album but still managing to keep a complete mystique about him that was just scream “Fuckin’ sweet!” It’s an LP with one long song divided into two tracks and the first time we hear vocals in Mortiis music. It’s Dungeon-y and medieval sounding but when Mortiis’ vocals finally make themselves known it turns into this weird hypnotic ritual-esque chanting. For a debut, I absolutely personally love this one.

Mortiis released his second full length LP, titled “Ånden som gjorde opprør” on the now legendary and defunct Cold Meat Industries in 1994. It’s right about here where Mortiis is in full control. The maestro to his very own opera creating landscapes with the flick of a wrist. The artwork shows actual Norwegian landscape and gives Mortiis vision a physical location. It’s also noted that this is what a lot of Mortiis fans consider their favorite album from his classic Era 1 period.

Keiser av en dimension ukjent” is the next album by Mortiis released in 1995. If anything this is a sister album expansion of “Ånden som gjorde opprør.” It also the transitional album to the next compilation album that most people still consider a full-length. By now Mortiis had done not only Emperor, and his main solo project, but two other side projects that included Vond and Fata Morgana. Both of which are more extensions of his particular form of dark synth music even going in a more Darkwave direction.

Crypt Of The Wizard” is what many consider to be Mortiis’ grand opus. This album is not so much a full-length, but a compilation of ten songs gathered from no less than five EPs all put out through Mortiis very own Dark Dungeon record label. These five EPs which all contained two songs each combined with the adorning artwork by well-known Swedish artist John Bauer. Put together and you have a compilation that at the end of the day might as well be considered a full-length. Regardless of what you consider this LP to be, “Crypt of The Wizard” is the album that got many people here in the states to take notice and was the first ever bit of exposure of Mortiis to 90’s teens such as myself. This is what started many of us on our own personal quest to find out more about this mysterious artist who looked like Blix from the 80’s Tom Cruise film “Legend.”

Taking a break from his music, let’s look a bit at the brilliant and original imagery Mortiis displayed in the 90’s while the majority of his countrymen were looking like sad pandas:


I first saw this same image in Metal Maniacs in ’97/’98.  Suffice to say it was the coolest fucking thing I had seen up until that point in my entire life. Mind you black metal imagery was one thing….Mortiis was on a completely different level and made just basically everyone else seemed not-so sincere to their choice of musical craft. On top of  a compilation LP, he also made a limited-edition home video (2000 copies total) of him walking around in a Swedish castle outside of Gothenburg in full Mortiis goblin attire and costume. For a peak into the past and pre-Internet era, check this video clip out:

Very spooky stuff

After the release of the “Crypt Of The Wizard” compilation LP, Mortiis made the big jump from both Cold Meat Industry/Dark Dungeon Music to Earache Music. At this time, black metal was as huge as it had gotten. Certain big name record labels were all cashing in, and Earache wanted a piece of the pie, so they picked up Mortiis. The album “The Stargate” was released and more and more people picked up on what he was doing, particularly in the UK. It should be noted that the music contained on “The Stargate” is the last full length album he did that contained full on dark ambient synth music. But here, there’s other sounds added to the pallet such as female vocals, and possibly the most “full” medieval soundtrack you’ll find outside of “Lord Of The Rings” soundtrack. “The Stargate” is basically the end of of what Mortiis himself referred to as Era 1. What he did next after completely doing away with the troll-y nature of the character and music he created was not just the most shocking thing he had done up until this point, but possibly his most criminally underrated album ever:

He decided to go straight Industrial/Electronic.

The Smell Of The Witch“, while not only signifying the second Era of his music but a completely overhaul of not just the image and look of Mortiis, but the sound. Gone are the dark ambient synths, and in place is loud, noisey Industrial/Goth dance music with guitars. And in all honesty, at the time, it was much needed. Had Mortiis keep going on with his Era 1 type music, he would have ended in self-parody like KISS or something corny of the sort. Mortiis stepped out from the darkness of the dungeon and onto the dance floor and shocked everyone that for one he has a good voice. So if you’re open-minded enough, you will appreciate “The Smell Of The Witch.” I know I have for years. As far as the rest of discography past this point? Meh. I don’t exactly register myself as a fan of those albums. Nothing negative to say about those other than it’s his music and he can do whatever he wants to with it but for me…..I’m staying in the dark dank dungeons of Norway somewhere in ’97. And I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.

But the story doesn’t stop there. Or so you would believe that it would. This year Foreign Sounds/Children of The Night released a BEAUTIFULLY made limited edition wooden cassette boxset that contained the first Mortiis demo and the first three Era 1 albums on cassette tape. Complete for nerdy fanbois such as myself. Did I get one? You bet your sweet ass I did. Take a look for yourself:


These box sets sold-out within an hour of being posted online. I barely lucked-out but thankfully I did. Out of all the things I own in my personal music collection, it’s probably one of my most valued.

Wrapping all this discussion and talk about Mortiis up, to say that I’m a fan is a bit of an understatement. For all intents and purposes, Mortiis made a huge impression on me as a teen and his music still lives on in 2017. These days his Era 1 music is still fascinating. Even for a time period that I wasn’t listening to his music, I wouldn’t deny the impact he had on my ever-growing tastes from that particular time period of my youth. He provided more of a classic sense of escapism and at what better time in pre-Internet social-media based clusterfuck dumpster fire of the current year? In the 90’s that was the goal. And I’m sure that now more than ever escapism is still a much-needed thing but the depressing part is that I’m at an age where I don’t experience it as much as when I did when I was younger. Yeah I can totally isolate myself in my house and listen to music, and read books, or do whatever….but is it the same effect? Not really. Time then stood still forever, and now nearing 35, time is going by faster. But it is nice to come back to certain things that you remember completely shattering your world and concept of what an actual ARTIST should or should not be. If anything, Mortiis defined art in the most absurd way possible through synths, noses, batwings, daggers, dungeons and all. I would hate to sound cliche and say something to effect of “If you weren’t there, you wouldn’t understand.” But it’s true. Believe it, Comrades. If you need further proof, Decibel writer/Krieg frontman and online grouch Neill Jameson did an amazing fucking interview with Mortiis himself that goes further into the mythology that he created himself and his views on the music he’s created during his lifetime.

Next part of the Dungeon Synth series, I’m going to talk a bit about what made a lot of people start walking away from the synths and completely rebel against something that was rebellious in the first place. This part of the history of Dungeon Synth gets really fucking cringe-worthy.

The Song Of A Long Forgotten Ghost: A Beginner’s Guide To Dungeon Synth Music Part 1 (The Origins and Roots)


As the old saying goes “Whatever is old is new again.” The saying can be applied to music in 2017 that is influenced by the dark, medieval-inspired ambient music of Norwegian black metal artists such as Burzum, and most of all Mortiis(ex-bassist of Emperor). Of all things to pop back up on the radar of 2017, this is probably the one that I am having the most fun with. Not just listening to, but writing about as well. Definitely in terms of this newly coined sub-genre, carefully and aptly called Dungeon Synth, it does not take itself oh-so-seriously(Not yet anyways!) but still sticking to the core sound and ethos of all those great pieces of music that I more or less grew-up listening to and letting my imagination run wild in total nerd-like fashion in the 90’s. Pre-Internet era had some major fucking advantages – as well as disadvantages – when it came to music, especially this kind. Much like 90’s black metal, this was all wrapped in a shroud of mystique and a veil of obscurity. Where as most of my classmates where out doing god-knows-what, your favorite blogger was in his bedroom trying to find and read as much as I could through Metal Maniacs and fanzines ordered. Totally left me day-dreaming on sunny school afternoons in the hot Florida weather about stuff like castles, dank moldy dungeons, and all sorts of cool nerdy shit. Yeah I may be eating member berries here but in all honesty, it’s the most fun I’ve had with member berries. It’s also a breath of fresh air from the now over-saturated Synthwave fad. Plus this is all one giant excuse for me to break out the jamz and NERD THE FUCK OUT!

I also need to note that not only will I discuss the importance of Norway in this series, but also delve into what led up and inspired Norway to start tapping on their Casio keyboards as well. I’ll also discuss the primary Norwegian artists who took from a previous generation and gave birth to what is happening now in 2017. Also I always give credit where credit is due and there are several other websites that have touched upon this subject and gone further into it more than I might possibly. were the first to break open the pandora’s box on this new form of music earlier this year.  No Clean Singing has done a really excellent job and has their own series going for them and I highly recommend checking them out. NCS even named shit that I never even heard of back then, so while reminiscing of old times, I also got a good history lesson on a sub-genre that expanded way past the fjords of Dungeon Synth epic-center in Norway. So let us begin this discussion with some pieces from of this new explosion of sp00ky music. Starting with it’s origins and roots:


Possibly the earliest example of the concept of an extreme metal band using dark ambient influences in their music. And what other artists besides the mythological and legendary Tom G. Warrior (Hellhammer/Celtic Frost/Triptykon) to fucking look decades ahead of him with his usual visions of mortality? If anything this track from the classic “Morbid Tales” EP is more Goblin-inspired. It sounds like it was taken from the “Susperia” soundtrack than anything Tangerine Dream did in the 80’s. More horror-based than fantasy if anything. For 1984, I’m sure this was truly terrifying.

Canada’s Blasphemy are another black metal artist who more or less was ahead of the curve. The intro to their 1989 “Blood From The Altar” demo was less soundtrack inspired, and way more ritual chant-ish. And the said can be said for the even better “Winds Of The Black Godz” intro to their classic 1990 “Fallen Angel of Doom” LP. It could be noted that the Nords took more influence from these rabid Canucks in terms of direction in the early days than trying to worry about how synths could be tied in with cheesy symphonic elements that would later happen and completely water the effects of synth keyboards and fucking up the entire concept of ambiance and atmosphere. Hell, even Mayhem weren’t this spooky ambient-sounding with their “Silvester Anfang” intro to their “Deathcrush” demo which itself was released in 1987 a mere two years before Blasphemy. Which now brings me to the discussion of Norway of this series.


Although not what one would think of Dungeon Synth, Mayhem‘s “Silvester Anfang” would be the earliest usages of ambient music used by a Norwegian band done in a very dark nature and made none other than Conrad Schnitzler of the ever-influential Tangerine Dream. This track was the opening song for the now legendary “Deathcrush” demo by Norway’s Mayhem. For all intents and purposes, Euronymous was definitely forward thinking even during Mayhem’s most rawest and primitive form. In fact, because of Euronymous….this was the green light for 2nd wave Norwegian Black Metal artist to pry and use ambient pieces and passages to use in their music that still happens to this very fucking day.

Burzum‘s  “Han Som Reiste” is probably the next piece of dark ambient music to come into existence. Released around the same summer as the first Mortiis demo, Burzum’s take is less military-esque drum march sounding and more dreary-sounding giving is a more ominous vibe. Again for only one or two songs and not an entire album of this. Even though Mortiis would be the first to release an entire demo/album of synth music, for Varg to release such a feat that would come years down the road. It also should be noted that next to Mortiis, his ambient material was the best. The major difference between Varg of Burzum and Mortiis was that Varg’s ambient material was more historically and culturally-influence as opposed to the straight out fantasy landscape that Mortiis created.

Wongraven was a side-project of Satyricon members. By 1995 just damn near every Norweigian musician had an ambient side-project or every Norweigian band were using synths or ambient passages in their music mixing it with black metal. This album never really popped-up on my radar that much back in the day. People knew about it, but it didn’t get the amount of speak as say Burzum, Mortiis, or even Summoning.

Austria’s Summoning was probably one of the bigger names outside of Norway/Sweden that was mentioned when discussing about Dungeon Synth at the time. Over time Summoning would go more orchestral and symphonic-sounding. Think of a black metal version of Sweden’s Therion for that particular period. But for their first handful of releases, they were strictly ambient/synth. A big thing was that while Mortiis stayed more strictly to mythological Norwegian creatures and moldy castle basements, Summoning picked-up on what Varg was doing in Burzum and went full-force and saying “Yeah it’s total Lord Of The Rings/Dungeons & Dragons nerd shit going on here. Nothing dark about us, we’re just trying to roll a 7 or 8 in hopes of defeating the Swamps demons so our horses don’t get stuck in the Marshlands.” I’m sure if my fiancee’ were to read this, she would hang her head in shame and think “God he is such a fucking NERD!” Sorry Babe :/

Germany took a stab at the whole Norway thing with Depressive Silence. Both their “The Darkened Empires” and “Depressive Silence” demos are interesting in the fact that this was pretty obscure even to me. In fact I will note that while doing this, I had to do my detective work to find more earlier 90’s pieces of Dungeon Synth music. Depressive Silence is still medieval, but it’s a shade or so lighter that the Norwegians. Not as dark and brooding. Still very troll-y. There’s even parts that are very classical-inspired as well. I’m pretty surprised and proof positive if I had heard this as a teen in the 90’s, I would worship this next to Mortiis’ discography.

Neptune Towers was Darkthrone‘s very own Fenriz’s take on Norway obsession with dark ambient synth music. Only he took his to a more psychedelic/classic Tangerine Dream route possibly keeping it closer to the roots at what Mayhem did on their “Deathcrush” demo than Mortiis or Burzum did. I wouldn’t say that Neptune Towers is a direct influence but it should definitely be noted as well for future reference. Going back and listening to this, has it aged well? Meh. It’s still good, but this is definitely geared more towards proggy nerds and the like.

Varg had been toying with ambient music on his albums tastefully and wonderfully for years but never going into full-album delivery. He finally did with the 1997 release of music he originally wrote in prison in late 1994/1995. The first of two releases he did was titled “Dauði Baldrs” which originally was not well-received and seen a bit as a dud. Then a year or so after that release, here comes a second full-length dark ambient album titled “Hliðskjálf” which in turn is the better out LP out of the two. The second song, “Ansuzgardaraiwô” is wallet-worthy and a testament to Varg’s ability to craft better music than actual life decisions whether you agree with him or not. 

That is the end of the first part of this series. I know what you are thinking……where the fuck is Mortiis? I know I’ve name-dropped him several times already and haven’t posted any pieces by him. I guess you will have to wait until the next part of the Dungeon Synth Series where I dedicate an entire section to the artist and go into all-out nerd fandom mode. Until then, keep it creepy, ooky, and all-together sp00ky.

Language: The Art Of Watering Down

Neill Jameson (who I’m sure you’re by now familiar with) wrote a think-tank piece about the continuing entropy-like process that is happening to the concept and abstract idea of having a logical and mature adult conversation on social media on just about ANYTHING one says. He also spoke of some artist which I am still very confused with and having conflicting feelings about. Much like your Dad when he was having a tough time deciding between purchasing Swank Magazine and “Guys Butts Drive Me Nuts Vol.8” on VHS back in the 80’s.  Anyway, crass humor aside, Neill explains that now we’re getting to the point where discussion is all but a meaningless futile high school debate team class in session, but fuck if high school kids aren’t at times more mature than adults in 2017. He says that “These days, trying to have civil discourse—especially in the realm of metal—is like attempting to force feed a newborn an entire watermelon. I’m sure it can be done, if cartoons taught me anything, but the baby will just bitch that it wasn’t in season.” I for one cannot argue with this statement. But that got me to wondering; if the idea and concept of an actual discussion is going out the window then what the fuck is happening to the language that we are using? Don’t worry, I won’t lecture you about any bullshit preferred pronouns or anything dealing with the politically correct. I’ll leave that up to Metalsucks along with the white guilt. You won’t find any of that here.

This particular think-tank piece Neill Jameson wrote was inspired by an artist who parades around with the label “black metal” but is nothing except the pure hipster irony- full of sassy wit – much like fucking everything in 2017 with the exception having accidently been diagnosed with an infected scrotum. The said artist’s MUSIC wasn’t terrible by any means but was still fucking lazy and uninspired even though the music could have passed off at a C- in my book. And in the lengthy 300+ comment conversation that inspired Neill’s article, all I read were the same old comments and excuses and defenses, etc. about “tr00 kvlt” and “elitists.” Constant finger-pointing and jabs at things that don’t really fucking exist in 2017. And it made me again ask the ol’ question that ever since I started this blog, I have been asking which is loudly screaming in my mind “WHERE ARE THESE SO-CALLED FUCKING ELITISTS?” and what the fuck exactly is “kvlt” in 2017?

This lead me to realizing not only discussions are in danger of extinction, but language in and of itself. When we start tagging certain words onto anything we don’t agree with we not only end up in an upside down world where Donald Trump is President, and fully grown adults believe that the Earth is actually flat. It’s also where loudmouth toxic cis scum such as myself take a step back and starts calling bullshit on everything. Much like using the word “racist” in 2017 where it’s damn-near lost all meaning and value through over-usage. You can add words such as “elitist,” “kvlt” and just about any other preferred snub at the underground that you can think of to that list. Any word that can be used against die-hards and maniacs in the underground, or anyone that is extremely passionate about non-mainstream forms of music are constantly targeted as the bane of music’s existence. Which is funny to me because given my age (I’m hurtling towards 35 in March btw), because a lot of these words meant something completely different 20 years ago when I was 14 going onto 15. Yes I understand I’m reaching my old man yelling at the clouds stage in life, but there’s a point to what I yell at.

“Oh you don’t like Sacred Son? Sorry that not everyone can listen to tr00 kvlt bands 24/7 such as you, but a lot of us see the irony in it and that’s what mainly counts in music these days nevermind that the music is worth fuck all.” 

History Lesson: In 1997 the word “elitist” didn’t even fucking EXIST for the most part. Nor did it find it’s way into the magazines such as Metal Edge, Circus Magazine, or Hit Parader. “Elitist” use to mean that you were or you considered yourself of the same quality of music as Norway. That was strictly a black metal musician’s term. And if you used it improperly you were given death threats or had dead rats sent to your mailbox as a way of calling you out on your bullshit. “KVLT” was originally “cult” which originally meant something pretty obscure. And in pre-Internet times, obscure was abundant. It was something that you HAD to go out, do your detective work, search for the clues that lead to whatever it was that you were looking for. Now anyone with a WiFi signal and access to Youtube can find anything at a click of a button in less than a second. Completely bypassing the time and patience it took in a generation or so prior to search out and develop an honest and passionate fan level appreciation for the artist. Nowadays, any two-bit mainstream deathcore band that wears white belts and vintage Death Row Records shirts from Hot Topic uses “elitists” as a way to lash out at their fans who basically say “Your new album sucks balls and you’re full of shit if you are trying to fool anyone by saying that you are ‘progressing’ and ‘evolving.'” Or if you are a fan and you think something is horseshit, you are called an ‘elitist’ and thought of as some basement-dweller that only listens to crappy NSBM bands that only has 50 copies of their demo on cassette form. Or some other over-used stereotype like that. But why Metal? Noise genre musicians are the leaders in terms of obscurity if we are comparing apples to oranges. In fact Noise artists puts Black Metal to shame as far as limited releases and obscurity. Nobody gives Noise artists any shit for such genre characteristics. And on top of that if there is one thing I have noticed is that if there are actual elitists of the metal kind out there, then they are keeping to themselves. Why? Because someone who is actually something doesn’t go around professing it and telling everyone. And if you a person who does the opposite, I can personally see thru your transparency. It’s like some chalk-white, stock motherfucker going around saying “I’m a funny dude’ and has the comedy level of Amy Schumer. In other words; you are NOT funny. So if you are a self-proclaimed “elitist”…..I can assure you that you more than likely listen to 87th rate bands that sound worse than the 50th rate bargain bin bands I listened to when you were still in your Avenged Sevenfold phase, dude. In the amount of time that I’ve been listening to underground Metal for the past 20 years, I can honestly fucking say that I have met/talked to possibly no more people than what I can count on my right hand that actually defined the term “elitist.” That’s about 5 total. These individuals for one do NOT even remotely talk to people on social media, let alone jump into a fucking Youtube comment section and argue with some snot-nosed 18 year old who is trying to revision the past.

“Despite all of your valid points, I just called you a tr00 kvlt elitst through the usage of my wit. I win the argument. I was born in 1994 btw.” – Metal Discussions in 2017

And it doesn’t stop there.  The word “kvlt” is a meme as well. That word went from being regular ol’ ‘cult’ to having a shitload of tourists come in, steal and use it in the cringe form of “kvlt.” Don’t even get me started on the word “tr00.” “tr00” use to mean “true” which again use to actually meaning something. It meant you were getting the real deal Holyfield of music. When used in terms of black metal, it usually meant a band with real convictions, a dedication to general negativity, and all-around fucked-up individuals that made everyone around you think you beyond any help. Now, along with “kvlt” it’s also used in meme-worthy internet jargon. It doesn’t mean jack shit outside of someone replying to your statement. A good example would be “Oh you don’t like Sacred Son because you are some tr00 kvlt person that only listens to horribly produced music that sounds like it’s from 1998.” Which is sad because how does one differentiate between something that is OBVIOUSLY watered-down, plastic, disposable crap and something that is more durable, time-worthy, wallet-worthy, and actually DOES deserve the music fan’s support. The same goes for words such as “real.”  Hell even the word “Metal” is associated with a couple 12 year old Japanese girls who’s record label’s A&R executives should be fired and sent to prison for promoting a disgusting new form of kiddie porn. A lot of the coded language that the underground redefined itself with for the majority of the 90’s has sadly become nothing more than euphemistic wording that is associated with memes. And two-second wittiness and cheap jokes. And some people don’t actually know the difference between what’s real and authentic and something that is fake and a fucking joke.

If there is a resolution I can propose to this minor problem that continues to force me to yell a what seems like a brick wall, is to basically do this: treat others with respect and not sound like an insufferable condescending butthole. Yes, I understand that most of what I write may come off that, but the main difference I try to do is to possible educate, look for alternatives, and try to get people to have a better understanding of certain things and hope for the best. I know that is a pipe dream at the end of the day, but like I said; it’s 2017 and anything is fucking possible. I mean if Sacred Son can come along and try to pass his music off on those of us who know better then I know we as the collective Metal underground can find ways to be the better man, use our heads and try having a civil discussion even when you have people throwing words out  at us because they simply disagree with us despite our conservative stance on things. All while us saying “Fuck you” nicely. It’s possible and it’s it’s one of the things I am being optimistic about. Reason being is that regardless of my age and weird fucking time-frame I currently live in, I still love the underground. I still love black metal. I still love bands that use the whole corpse paint and spike-y image even though I would prefer that Americans leave that shit to the Euros when it comes to black metal imagery. I still do get giddy whenever I see younger generations take an actual general interest in black metal for the right reasons. I’m not completely without optimism.

Aside from my complaints and grievances, I’m not actually worried. The underground does have one thing to it’s advantage, and that it has a way of re-defining itself to go against the grain. It has it’s inner machinations that keeps itself at a relatively safe distance from mainstream society despite seeing the masses of Slipknot fans in FB comment sections worrying about Kim Kardashian wearing a fucking Morbid Angel shirt. These are the types of people turn around who laugh at terrible Metal memes that have Abbath from Immortal in it standing next to a cat in a bathtub and it says something fucking facepalm-inducing such as “This cat is about to take ABBATH!” (No I didn’t laugh btw) Bottom line: If you go by the words used by people who don’t listen to Metal (that statement is directed at mainly certain websites, not naming names btw), but still try to govern what you are and are not allowed to listen to, then yeah you’re lost on that one and I really can’t help you. But if you are a logical and rational human being who enjoys critical thinking and doesn’t hop onto one of the many online social media dog-piles, then congratulations for getting this far into 2017: You’ve already proven yourself worthy to talk to on FB. Believe it, Comrades.

Artist Spotlight: Neill Jameson of Krieg

Neill Jameson: He makes beautiful family-friendly music. I can assure you.

This is something really special that I am glad I got the opportunity to do: Decibel Magazine ranter, Krieg frontman, and all-around black metal father figure Neill Jameson is having a rather busy summer. On top of just releasing a new side-project Poison Blood thru Relapse Records, he just recently announced that he was re-releasing music from Krieg as well as new music from other bands under his new label, aptly called Black House Industries. So in light of all those releases, I decided to do an artist spotlight reviewing the releases he’s been hacking away at. Starting this spotlight will be the first release under his record label. For the uneducated, this isn’t the first time Neill has released music under his own record label. He originally ran Blood Fire Death Records starting in 1998 and unleashed a slew of releases by artists such as Xasthur, Loss, Demoncy, Pest, Archgoat, Lugubrum, and a few others. Fast-forward to 2017; in typical Neill fashion, he announced the first release of Black House Industries in a rather bluntly and sarcastic-like fashion that he is known to . Already he has one release that is going to get the ol’ razzle dazzle treatment on his label. Me being a long time fan of Mr. Jameson was granted the honor of reviewing these various releases. Admittedly, I started boofin’ pretty hard whenever I got the promo(s) in my Gmail account. But enough of my fanboy nerding-out and let’s see what jamz he has prepared to be shat in everyone’s ear canals during this extremely humid and stormy summer shall we?

Future TerrorWe’re All Fucked (2017) Black House Industries


First up we have the very first release on his new label which is Future Terror, a Hardcore Punk band based out of Richmond, Virgina. Without listening to the actual music and judging by the artwork, I already knew what I was in for: Hardcore Punk in the vein of Discharge/Tragedy/Extreme Noise Terror/Doom(UK). I’ve been on a bit of a Hardcore drought since last year’s excellent “Never” LP by Withdrawal. That album and the new Integrity LP are the only albums that have registered on my radar in the past year or so when it comes to that specific genre. But within the first 10 seconds of the wonderfully and sardonically-tiled “Conned By God,” I am lost within the noise. Not in a bad way by any means. Whenever I loose myself in music, it’s always a good thing. It’s there that I personally feel at peace with the current tense climate of a dysfunctional society. Understanding that the UK-influenced US band might not exactly be doing anything as outside of the box as Withdrawal pulling in post-punk/goth rock influences, or even Integrity dabbling in black metal influences. But then again I’m not some stickler for needing something original each and every time I listen to a new band. Hell, I am just happy there are still bands like Future Terror carrying on the traditions and ethos of the UK noise-making bunch and act like they have a sense of urgency. An urgency that screams either play riffs or die and get the fuck out of the way.  Especially when you take into account with a song title such as ‘You Think You Are So Special.” A total un-PC iron fist-in-the-face of modern-day society. Bottom line: This is the shit I like and would highly recommend these jamz to anyone who is needing a good shot of adrenaline-speed Hardcore Punk. Definitely made for those who are still pissed at the last Amebix album for not being crusty enough or not sounding like it’s 1985. “We’re All Fucked” will be released this Friday, September the 8th and is limited to 100 copies on clear yellow cassette w/1.5″ pin.


KriegSono Lo Scherno (2017) Inferna Profundis Records

Originally recorded in 1998, but never released until 2005, “Sono Lo Scherno” was meant to be the follow-up to the first Krieg album “Rise Of The Imperial Hordes” but for whatever reason, frontman Neill Jameson decided to keep it in the vaults until sometime later. To be completely honest with this one, I had a copy of this I got waaaaaay back in 2008 or 2009 that I purchased but I never got around to fully listen to. I’ve been very familiar with Krieg since first hearing the US Black/Thrash band Blood Storm name drop them in Slayer ‘Zine issue #15 in the early 00’s. Outside of that trivia bit about myself, I couldn’t give you a legit reason or excuse why I never listened to this album. As I am writing this, I’m experiencing it for the first time, and I’m legit a bit blown away by how it sounds absolutely nothing like what Krieg is known for, especially from the time period it was originally written. It’s weird because listening to this now in 2017, it sounds completely alien yet familiar. There are parts that sound like old-school Krieg as far as the raw production goes. There are a number of samples and ambient passages that provides moments of unique atmosphere among the 90’s Profanatica/Judas Iscariot/Beherit/Bestial Summoning riffs.  The song “Ruin Under The Burning Skies” is not what one might be thinking of in connection of what is found on the legendary “The Black House” LP. It’s the polar opposite. Even some of the song titles such as “Maelstrom,” “Plague Waltz,” and “Hypnotic Decay” sound as if they would be found on an 80’s Thrash album. That’s not an insult or slur, it’s just something I wouldn’t expect from the creative demented mind of Neill Jameson. The entire album for the most part is a giant curve-ball. It’s also noted that this indeed was part of the early years of Krieg and to see how far Neill has come as far is nothing short of the making of one of the father figures in the USBM scene and genre overall. After having enough time to listen to this and take everything in, there is something strangely luring about this album. The more I think about it, the more I am becoming more and more favorable to this offering from Krieg. There’s also a killer fucking Nunslaughter cover included. Overall, it’s something unexpected. It’s different, yet it retains a lot of familiar traits that Krieg is known for. I would definitely recommend this for die-hard Krieg fans and not someone who just picked up a copy of “The Black House” or “The Isolationist.” If you’re like me being someone is more familiar with past Krieg albums and experiencing this for the first time, go into it with an open mind.  “Sono Lo Scherno” will be released on September 25 on Inferna Profundus Records. Pre-orders are up on the label’s official store and can be found here. 

Poison Bloodself-titled (2017) Relapse Records

a1717948515_10 (1)

I had been meaning to review this album earlier before it was released. Long story short: I was busy with my first Noisey piece and learning the ins-and-outs of becoming a legit freelance writer took up some of my time from making an honest attempt to review this. Seeing how the news from Neill came about, I decided to go ahead and add it on to this as an artist spotlight moment and rectify that issue. Also seeing how much output Mr. Jameson does, it’s falls into the add-on department of this particle review article. Poison Blood‘s self-titled album is probably the rawest thing Neill has done in a good while. It’s a collaboration with Jenks Miller of Horseback that deals with the obsession that Neill Jameson has with the desert landscapes and all the mysteries that lie within the shadows of the wastelands. If anything should be noted is how much ground these two beautiful bastards are covering in such a short time frame as far as a release goes. It clocks in under 19 minutes, but what they accomplish is a perfect balance of both the ugly, depraved, and beautiful. The album starts out right out of the gates of nanna with the song “The Scourge And Gestalt” which is almost like The Velvet Underground covering Beherit in total Rudimentary Peni -fashion; psychedelic, dirty, seductive and black-as-fuck. The Beherit influence is so apparent and so well-done that quite honestly Poison Blood is really the album that Beherit should have done in between “Drawing Down The Moon” and “Engram.” While I don’t dislike the Beherit electronic/ambient albums, if this were an alternate universe that existed, Beherit would have fared better in that that era of their music had they gone the route and played more in the vein of what Poison Blood does. Past the Beherit-isms, what really sticks out the most is the psychedelic textures of the album. The Moog synths of Jenks Miller adds the entire “desert vibe” that Neill Jameson said he was going for with this album and his fascination with it. At one point (“The Flower Of Serpents”) it makes rember all the great ambient synth pieces by Burzum, Neptune Towers, and Era 1 of Mortiis. That’s not to say it’s a rip-off of 90’s Norway, but ambiance-wise for myself it makes me wanna break out all those Casio keyboard songs that were at one point a legit thing within Black Metal. It’s well-rounded and tastefully done on how they really mix it extremely well with the dirty blackened guitar style. If anything it leaves you wanting more. Having just listened to Krieg‘s “Sono Lo Scherno” LP pior before deciding to add this review into the article piece, this side-project seems like a future cousin of it, only slightly less deranged but fucked-up nonetheless. It’s just another testament to how Neill Jameson is able to spread his wings over different types of side-projects and bands and cover so much ground, including past side-projects such as Twilight(RIP), Le Chant Funebre, N.I.L., and a host of others both active and defunct. It’s also a testament that for all intents and purposes, Neill’s words and blackened heart has always been strict dedication in producing some of the more interesting moments in the US black metal geographical location amidst the muck that gets slung around on other Metal news websites.  You can order Poison Blood‘s self-titled LP from Relapse and they also have some killer band merch as well. 

There is also the announcement of the re-issue of the 2013 out-of-print demo from New Jersey’s Hardcore sons of darkness The Banner as an upcoming release for Black House Industries. Anything else Neill decides to release either through Black House Industries or elsewhere will definitely be supported and spread here at Esoterica Codex. If you would like to give Neill hails, do so by checking out and clicking ‘like’ on the official Black House Industries Facebook Page. And if all else fucking fails and none of this interests you, go buy some shit from Neill Jameson on so that he can purchase cat food and kitty litter for his cats. Friendly reminder tho: Just don’t invite them to like your band.

From the Plutonian planet of the Yuggoth comes Tchornobog’s self-titled album.

Can we get one thing out of the way first? The album artwork.

maxresdefault (1)
That. Fucking. Eye.

It just downright creeps the ever-living blue fuck out of me. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get right into the music of this bad-boy. A one man band created by Ukranian Markov Soroka, Tchornobog isn’t exactly a band that is going to be re-inventing the rules of Black Metal. But what he does with this debut album is a hellish combination of Deathspell Omega and Napalm Death. That’s about as close as I can come to describing this outer worldly monstrosity.

The self-titled album only delivers 4 tracks. The first is fucking 20 minutes long. I have heard some people say “Spare me the long intro”, but for me I’m a patient kinda dude when it comes to music like this. Especially if I’m listening to this at 12:30 AM in the middle of the night whenever my fiancee is asleep and all the animals are curled up. It gives me the chance to fully take something like this in. Even the song titles alone; “I: The Vomiting Tchornobog (Slithering Gods of Cognitive Dissonance)” and “IIII: Here, At The Disposition of Time (Inverting A Solar Giant)” take a good amount of concentration to let your imagination get its gears turning properly. At least for me that seems to be the case.

The music contained in the album itself has many peaks and valleys much like what is shown visually on the album artwork. For such a huge album it’s a lot to take in. Tchornobog has the ability to appeal progressive/outside-of-the-box thinking metal nerds. I don’t say that as an insult seeing how I’m a sucker for albums such as “Operation: Mindcrime,” “Nothingface,” “Human,” etc, but this one is a bit more challenging. Tchornobog‘s self-titled album is a constant-changing riff terrain that demands your full attention. Mind you this is one of those albums that does automatically hits you right off the bat, but it’s still an album that I know will take many repeated listens just to get the mapped-out feel of the almost alien-like landscape. It’s a fucking maze of riffs ( and torment too!). One second you get the blastbeats, the next you get a really doomy breakdown, etc. But the way Mr. Tchornobog goes about arranging all of the riffs and compositions is actually a good contrast to say Germany’s own The Ruins Of Beverast. Where TROB are more doomier, Tchornobog adds in the extra little bit of Death Metal elements here and there. Not a lot, but enough to make the music more beefier and dissonant in some parts.

For all intents and purposes, this is mood music. I don’t see this album inspiring an ever-growing legion of fans who are going to be praising Mr. Soroka to ad nauseum any time soon. More like this is an album for the individual to sit back, and unlock doors in the mind that leads them to wherever. As space-y and nerdy as that sounds, that’s all I can really used to describe it. All and all, it’s a creepy fucking album, complete with crawling eyes and maze-like riffs.

Tchornobog‘s self-titled album is now available on Fallen Empire Records for digital release. I-Voivdhanger Records will be doing a limited edition CD pressing. Other than that, you can follow the one man band at his official Facebook page or his official Bandcamp page.

Twisting, turning, and writhing: New jamz from Plaguewielder!


The name Plaguewielder should not come as foreign to the reader, seeing how I reviewed their rather excellent 2015 debutSuccumb To The Ash” album last year. Keeping in touch with the band via online social media has not exactly been an issue, as I honestly can’t really think of any other band that sounds like them. Blackened Sludge is a sub- genre that has yet to hit it’s explosive period. It has only recently started to come into it’s own within the past several years as a sub-genre with bands such as Wolvhammer, Lord Mantis, and Coffinworm. This is a good thing because this gives Plaguewielder a massive one-up in the creativity department as far as expanding their sound, while also helping forge possible new paths. This could force said sub-genre to discover it’s own potential to become a much bigger beast.

A few days ago, Plaguewielder dropped/posted a new song on their official Bandcamp page called “Writhing In Mental Torment. ” Previously to getting my butt over to listen to it, I had been spending that entire day reviewing and listening to the new Loss album. Before clicking on the ‘play‘ button, I almost slightly hesitated, mostly due to the fact that the new Loss album made me want to die a slow rotting miserable death (in the best way possible). Would the new Plagueweilder song distract my attention away long enough to take notice? Surprisingly, it did. The song “Writhing In Mental Torment” was the complete polar opposite in terms of tempo and song arrangement. It’s shockingly rather short and up-beat with a blackened Punk-like spirit to it. Think of Fenriz playing an off-kilter drum beat cover of “New Rose” off the first The Damned album but in a total urgent “Die or get the fuck outta my way“-type fashion. Combine that with a crusty, oozing, sludgy breakdown towards the end. How this couldn’t motivate more bands/musicians who want to possibly go down this route or play similar styled music to take initiative to bring new things to the table is a question that will be answered best in time. Check it out and Hails reacts only brodies!