Clandestine Cuts Vol. 11 Issue #12 - Awesome New Demos and EPs
|Written by:||nikarg, RaduP, musclassia, Starvynth|
Clandestine Cuts Volume 11, Issue #12
The Metal Storm Demo/EP Spotlight
Brand New Independent Metal Lives Here.
Welcome to the Clandestine Cuts!
Welcome to the Clandestine Cuts!
Is independent, unsigned, and underground metal what you seek? Weary traveller of the metal world, rest here a while. Clandestine Cuts are the best demos and EPs from these bands, the heart and soul of metal music. These musicians are slaves to their passions, and their blood keeps the metal machine alive and turning. Support them with a simple listen, and discover the future.
Metal Storm users: you can vote in the poll below to choose your favourite demo/EP of the issue. The winners each year are nominated in our annual Metal Storm Awards so exercise your rights: this is the one category chosen completely by YOU the readers. Make sure your favourite independent metal is recognized each year!
(Think your band has what it takes to be featured in the Cuts? Email email@example.com to submit your music.)
In case you're new at this, go back and enjoy our last few issues:
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 11 #11
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 11 #10
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 11 #09
And now to the new music...
Grief Symposium - Monolithic Dark Metal (UK)
[Death / Doom Metal]
I'm generally wary of bands self-describing their sound with the album title, regardless of whether it falls closer to the Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing or the Still Sucks part of the spectrum. So naming your debut EP "Monolithic Dark Metal" is either a self-congratulatory act or you're actually that confident that you're doing it right. The fact that I'm writing about it should indicate that I lean much more towards the latter, because Grief Symposium seem to have it all figured out. They have both the doom and the death parts of their sound working really well (and they don't lean excessively on either one of those), they got riffs, and since the members are/were also part of The King Is Blind, they got the experience and the skill to really craft something that borders on "monolithic". I still think the album title is a bit tacky, but I'll allow it.
Boarhammer - I: Cutting Wood For Magickal Purposes (Germany)
Boarhammer are exactly what it says in their Bandcamp page: ‘Ritualistic Black Metal Primitivism’. This is ancient witchcraft-loving black metal, deeply rooted in the genre’s first wave and there is even a cover of Mercyful Fate’s “Black Funeral” featured here. I personally love everything about this demo: its cult aesthetic, the fierceness of the blastbeats, the epicness of the slower parts, the lo-fi sound, and the occult atmosphere. The vocals reek of old-school black metal ethos and the entire effort has this DIY approach that hits the nail on the head. Though the tracks all belong to the same style, they are not boring processions, but constantly seem to morph and evolve into a subsequent phase. Best examples are “Spirits On Black Wings” and “Ritual Tusks” but I urge you to check out I: Cutting Wood For Magickal Purposes (what an awesome title) in its entirety. According to the band, the lyrics speak of wood mysticism, ancient folk magick, and the strangeness of liquids and herbs. They had to say that… as if we weren’t already convinced by the twisted music. I am fully sold and eagerly anticipating Act II.
Éphémère - Departure Of Self (Canada)
There’s an increasing number of bands playing deathcore with symphonic or melodic twists at the moment, but even with this competition, Departure Of Self unearths the potential for novel approaches. The second EP from the Quebecois trio Éphémère opens with dainty piano and string synths, and continues to incorporate both of these when it unleashes into growls, blasts and tremolo riffing. However, it’s when “Ghost In The Shell” takes pause before transitioning into a post-rock interlude that things get interesting; it almost feels like the song is flirting with blackgaze at times. After listening to Departure Of Self, I can now see genuine promise in a blackgaze/deathcore fusion, something that would’ve seemed incompatible previously. Similar moments do pop up on other tracks, although they focus more on the symphonic deathcore side of things for the most part. There is some roughness to Departure Of Self, particularly on the vocal front, and I don’t think the djent-heavy approach on “Snake Skin” is that interesting compared with the other songs, but when Éphémère fuse symphonics, driving rhythms and atmospheric guitar leads, it results in a very appealing combination of sounds.
The Craton - Magma Ocean (Switzerland)
The Swiss duo The Craton announce their arrival with two songs of grim, doomy sludge. The production is a little rough around the edges, but the quality riffs, bilious vocals and dirty guitar tone still manage to make their presence felt. The title track also contrasts the intensity of The Craton at their heaviest with some quiet moments, which effectively build the tension for when the heavier moments do arrive. The grim, churning trudge of The Craton’s particular brand of sludge pairs malevolence with an insidious undercurrent, one that slowly ensnares unsuspecting listeners.
Erroneous - Submission (USA)
[Blackened Doom Metal]
Two years after the first demo Despondency (featured in Clandestine Cuts Vol. 9 Issue #7), there are finally four new tracks from Mark Bell's Portland-based project Erroneous! A glance at the cover art already suggests a reassuring consistency, because once again a painting by Edvard Munch ("Love and Pain", 1895) has been chosen to catch one's eye. Also musically Mark has remained true to his previous work; it still is blackened doom with an emphasis on heavy riffs and sombre melodies that crawls out of the speakers and into your auditory canals. This amalgamation of doom metal with black metal shrieks is complemented by bass-heavy guitar work with a good dose of reverb, lending Submission a particularly warm and gothic sound. At the latest by the last track, the musical influence of two pioneers of the genre becomes very clear, as Erroneous's version of "The Last Time" is not only a tribute to Paradise Lost, even more it's also a deep bow to early Katatonia.
Dionysiaque - Dionysiaque (France)
You may remember that we featured the first demo of French doom metallers Dionysiaque in a previous issue of Clandestine Cuts back in 2018. The reason why they are here again is because they launched their second demo on Christmas day of 2021 (the date selection is clearly for mocking purposes) but they still remain a relatively clandestine band. This is unfortunate because Dionysiaque rocks and this is some of the best music in the style for the year that just finished. If you’re into frightening and occult doom metal with menacing and theatrical vocals, do check this out and you shall be rewarded with just over 25 minutes of classic doom riffing and chilling atmosphere. Pay extra attention to the dark lyrics that fit so well to the bizarre voice singing them and to the mysterious music. I cannot recommend this band enough; bathe in wine, worship Dionysos, listen to Dionysiaque, have a happy new year… and doom over the world.
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