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Clandestine Cuts Vol. 13 Issue #4 - Awesome New Demos and EPs

Written by: nikarg, musclassia, RaduP, Starvynth, Nejde, AndyMetalFreak
Published: 06.05.2023

Clandestine Cuts Volume 13, Issue #4
The Metal Storm Demo/EP Spotlight

Brand New Independent Metal Lives Here.
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 to submit your music.)

In case you're new to this, go back and enjoy our last few issues:

Clandestine Cuts Vol. 13 #3
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 13 #2
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 13 #1

And now to the new music...

Gideon's Horn - Triumphant Command (UK/USA)
[Black Metal]

"Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." Black metal and Judeo-Christian culture haven't been the best of friends. On one side, the obvious Nazi problem that black metal has, while on the other side Christianity was a huge part of the culture that metal evolved as the counter-culture too. So having a black metal band sing in Yiddish and introducing elements of Klezmer into the music, complete with chants and horns, while also embracing the more gruesome nature of the Old Testament that Christianity tends to gloss over, that's not only a statement in itself, but a herald of a pretty unique and avant-garde approach to black metal that might become even more refined with further Gideon's Horn releases.

by RaduP

Spirit Temple - Part 2 (Australia)
[Funeral Doom Metal | Ambient]

If there's a first part, then there must be a second part at some point. The ominous Australian one-man project Spirit Temple took 18 months for the follow-up to their first EP - that's an eternity if you've been waiting impatiently for something, but for funeral doom enthusiasts, who are known to tackle certain things rather slowly, it's a clear sign of pathological eagerness to work. The seconds part of Spirit Temple's bleak symbiosis of plodding doom and orchestral ambient could once again serve as the perfect soundtrack for a particular dungeons & dragons ARPG, but offers a bit more than its predecessor, especially in terms of variety. Incorporating endlessly droning guitar riffs but occasionally touching blastbeat territory, the pace is more dynamic than before, and the vocals are also more multifaceted and somewhat more present than on Part 1. However, the focus is still set on the dense and eerie atmosphere, which is mainly carried by synthesizer soundscapes. True to the maxim "less is more", usually only a short piano melody or a discreet drum accompaniment is needed to briefly break through the ambient soundscapes and to provide the many small highlights of this EP: pleasant shivers and goose bumps.

by Starvynth

Canyoneer - Kittfall (USA)
[Progressive Metal | Post-Rock]

Last year Canyoneer debuted their first EP Only To Scale, a release that simply wowed us with quality musicianship shining through six stunningly well-crafted tracks, which varied in style. This left us listeners with a solid impression, one that created anticipation to hear more from the band in the near future. Now, just a year later, Canyoneer make a return with the instrumental, seven-track EP, titled Kittfall. What we have here on Kittfall is an outstanding display of musicianship skills, on which there is excellent drumming, amazing technical guitar work, and phenomenal bass work. Each track contains an excellently crafted progressive structure, mixed with an array of wonderful personal elements. Although the EP is instrumental, there is spoken word present on the track “It's All Our Fault Line, And It Goes On Forever”, which is also the longest one at over six-minutes long. We surely do hope to hear more from this rising star in the metal world.

by AndyMetalFreak

Calamitous Skies - Demo 2023 (USA)
[Technical Death Metal | Progressive Death Metal]

Don't let this neat little 3-song demo fool you into thinking that you're listening to some high quality Canadian tech death. This is high quality tech death straight out of sunny California and L.A. to be more precise. Not much is known about the person behind the project other than the name Luna Darling, who describes the music as "technical death metal about nerd shit". Knowing that, my best guess is that opening track "Tiamat" refers to one of the 14 different references to Tiamat in video games and role playing games on Wikipedia, and, judging by the lyrics, not the old Mesopotamian goddess of the sea. Funnily enough, the song mostly reminds me of non-Canadians Behold The Arctopus with its intriguing rhythm changes. Second track "Kraken" is the best one here and starts off with a melodic intro before we get some pretty cool lyrics about the Kraken ruling the sea, which lasts for about a minute. Then it goes full instrumental with more intriguing guitar melodies for the remainder of the song. Last but not least, we get a cover of Nobuo Uematsu's "Birth Of A God" from one of the greatest video games ever made: Final Fantasy VII. This particular song plays during the first part of the final boss battle against Sephiroth and fans of the game will instantly recognise it, even though it's a bit more technical than it needs to be. The drum programming is on the simpler side, but it's Luna Darling's guitar playing that shines here, and, for being a demo, the production is way above average.

by Nejde

Savage Oath - Savage Oath (USA)
[Epic Heavy / Power Metal]

Savage Oath are going to be fairly big fairly soon. In fact, I am not sure they really belong to the Clandestine Cuts article series, since they feature guitarist Leeland Campana of Visigoth fame, vocalist Brendan Radigan of Sumerlands, guitarist Carlos Llanas (ex-Eternal Champion), and bassist Phil Ross (ex-Manilla Road). Relatively speaking, this is a supergroup. And Savage Oath is a tasty specimen of epic, galloping, thunderous, melodic, but also gritty heavy/power metal. This EP is playing in a superior league; you just need to check out the opening track and you’ll be hooked. “Warlock's Trance” starts with the bass and the drums playing off of each other, shortly after a killer riff joins the fun, and then the soaring vocals come on top. How can someone not keep listening until the end? A full-length is supposed to be coming later this year, and you cannot claim that you have not been warned.

by nikarg

Sunscourge - Wraith (USA)
[Blackened Deathcore]

Quite a lot of recent deathcore bands, including the likes of Lorna Shore, Shadow Of Intent and Humanity's Last Breath, have been referred to as ‘blackened deathcore’ at one point or another. There are perhaps faint hints of black metal in these bands’ music, but I’ve always found this description of them to be somewhat tenuous; if I imagine what blackened deathcore should sound like, Wraith feels far closer to my own interpretation. This is the second EP from Sunscourge, and like last year’s Scarlet, it sees project mastermind (multi-instrumentalist and songwriter) Sean Feeney joined by 3 different vocalists on each of its 3 songs, the most renowned of which being Worm Shepherd’s Devin Duarte on opening song “Deathblight Chalice”. Duarte’s initial semi-shrieked vocal style is apt for partnering the clearly blackened guitar tones employed by Feeney on “Deathblight Chalice” and Wraith as a whole; it’s not just these initial tones that tether Sunscourge with black metal, as there are also intermittent blasting and tremolo passages, but at the same time, the music is grounded in deathcore, with breakdowns, sickening pig growls, and ballistic double bass drum rolls. Perhaps the most intriguing of the three songs is closer “Mourn, O’ Child In Decay”, a slower (relatively speaking) song that to begin with feels like an atmospheric black song with jackhammer bass drums and deathcore growls on top. Overall, I appreciate the visions of Sunscourge slightly more than the actual songs Feeney’s produced thus far, but this is a very promising release.

by musclassia


What's your favourite new release of this issue?

Login or register to vote. Results are hidden


Comments: 8   Visited by: 48 users
07.05.2023 - 11:28

The better ones this month for me are Sunscourge, Spirit Temple (good atmosphere to this one) and Canyoneer (clearly more proficient in terms of production values than the other nominees), although it's admittedly not my favourite CCs line-up so far this year
07.05.2023 - 20:12

Savage Oath are clearly the more professional act, but Calamitous Skies have no competition, in my opinion.
07.05.2023 - 22:08
Gideon's Horn scratches my raw black metal itch, an easy win in my eyes
An album rated 6 is an album I enjoyed
07.05.2023 - 23:26
The only one that doesn't resonate with me this month is Gideon's Horn. Lo-fi production really isn't my thing. Spirit Temple has great atmosphere, Canyoneer has great production, Calamitous Skies has great guitar work, Savage Oath has great retro feeling and Sunscourge has great aggressiveness and brutality. I find it hard to decide which one to vote for but I'm leaning towards Sunscourge in the end, even though I'm not a fan of the occasional pig squeal vocals.
"You have the right to believe in what you want. I have the right to believe it's ridiculous." - Ricky Gervais
08.05.2023 - 17:07
Lost To Apathy
The atmosphere on Spirit Temple did it for me this time round. Quite enjoyed bits of all the others if not every track. Biggest criticism is Savage Oath slapping a $6 price tag on a 2-track digital release!
"Pay no heed to anyone and do what seems right to yourself." - Franz Kafka, The Trial
2022 List:
2021 List:
14.05.2023 - 19:50

Savage Oath is phenomenal, this ticks so many boxes for how to write good modern us power metal. Their full length is my most anticipated release by a landscape.

Calamitous Skies is also amazing. Huge Alf Svensson/Foul Origins of Humanity era VoidCeremony vibes, and Tiamat's main guitar theme is pure genious. It's funny how I discovered them as I was playing Final Fantasy VII (original) for the first time in my life, no need to say that they nailed the Birth Of A God cover.
17.05.2023 - 20:44
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
After slippy start came hellenic hero whit his choice snd save the day..... Or series.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
31.05.2023 - 18:12
Blue Wizard
Gideon’s Horn

Raw, but more melodic than I was expecting. I like the vocals. They don’t sound too dissimilar to one particular Japanese MIDI-metal guy’s vocals from an ancient viral video on YouTube. That may be the weirdest compliment I’ve ever given a vocalist, but I mean it sincerely. The tempo and rhythm change around 1:20 in the second track is superbly done, leading to some of the catchiest black metal I’ve heard in a while. The guitar feedback or cheap-cable-or-whatever noise at 3:52 in the same song fits into the overall atmosphere, which is amusing to hear. When inspired, recording and mixing equipment does not matter. That is my view, anyway. An incredibly catchy and fun release overall, I loved it.

Spirit Temple

The uncommon chord progressions played as crucial a part in making this an enjoyable listen as the atmosphere did. Many more-than-solid riffs were also present, around 3:20 in The Descent, to give an example. “Forest Dwellers’” opening synth is splendid. That type of sound is easy to misuse and when misapplied, it can turn out cheesy. Instead, it works very well with the other instruments and sounds, creating an eerie atmosphere. The string-synth at the end of the same song doesn’t fit quite as well, though. To my ears, it sounds overly familiar, typical, predictable. The musical storytelling is excellent in all tracks. The kick and snare in “Giants Roam These Lands” feels like the footsteps of giants. I very much enjoyed how the piano in the middle of that track didn’t play a single note that I could predict. That’s difficult to pull off. I didn’t much care for the synth sound in “Giants..” either, unfortunately. The vocal-synths in “What The Night Brings” were an excellent choice. I think they should’ve gone with that sound for the entire EP and ditched the cheap-sounding string-synth. A superb album overall, and I adore that Skyrim was one of its inspirations.


“As The Cloud Splits, So Does The Watershed” was a standout track, loved that one. The rest of the songs did little for me. I admire the technical skill on display, as anyone should, but I guess I'm just not that into instrumental progressive music these days.

Calamitous Skies

Holy mother loving Sephiroth, this was excellent. Every single melody and riff and chord was unpredictable (or at least not expected by my ears). Yet it didn’t sound random or uninspired at any point. Unlike Sephiroth’s sword, it was way too short, though. I’m guessing the name “Calamitous Skies” is a reference to Final Fantasy VII as well. The alien life-form that crashed on Gaia aka “Jenova” was called “The Calamity From The Sky” during the game, if memory serves. Either way, a great little EP and the fact that the greatest Final Fantasy game (feel free to argue with me about this in the video games thread haha) inspired it, is a bonus.

Savage Oath

I’m probably not in the mood for epic metal at the moment, but I can tell it’s quality stuff. The singer can hit insanely high notes with considerable confidence and conviction. The solo at the end of “Warlock’s Trance” is very tasteful and melodic, no showing off. I’m not a fan of harmonized/layered vocals though. Not just here, in most of rock/metal. Arjen Lucassen’s Star One project’s song “High Moon” comes to mind. The live version of the song has Damien Wilson singing with no backing harmonies. That live version kicks the studio version’s ass. I suspect that might be the case with Savage Oath too.


Not my thing at all, sadly. There’s nothing to complain about. Clearly, they nailed what they were going for. It’s just not for me.

It is a tough choice between Calamitous Skies, Gideon’s Horn and Spirit Temple. I’m going with Gideon’s Horn. Something about that album just clicked. Even the fact that it is raw as hell regarding production worked wonders for me. Thanks for the article, @everyone!
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