Clandestine Cuts Vol. 13 Issue #9 - Awesome New Demos and EPs
|Written by:||nikarg, musclassia, Starvynth, Nejde, X-Ray Rod|
Clandestine Cuts Volume 13, Issue #9
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 to this, go back and enjoy our last few issues:
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 13 #8
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 13 #7
Clandestine Cuts Vol. 13 #6
And now to the new music...
Aivvass - Occult Rites II (Germany)
[Doom Metal | Neofolk]
Aivvass is a neofolk-tinged doom metal band from Germany, leaning a lot to the occult end of the genre, as it can be deduced from the EP’s title. Occult Rites II follows the release of the first part earlier this year and provides an interesting take on doom metal, both musically and vocally. This is the solo project of founder, composer, and songwriter Frater Theli, who takes topics of secret societies, ancient gods, alchemy, astrology, and white/black magic and turns them into songs. The band name itself is derived from ‘Aiwass’, which is the name given to a voice that the British occultist and ceremonial magician Aleister Crowley reported to have heard in Cairo in 1904. Frater Theli uses acoustic guitars next to sludgy riffs, and scary screams next to incantation-like chanting, creating an atmosphere of magic and spiritual immersion. This EP sounds as if Esoctrilihum decided to write Pentagram songs, and it actually features an esoteric and frightening cover of “The Ghoul”.
Strikehammer - Chaotic Spell (Italy)
[Speed Metal | Black 'n' Roll]
Disclaimer: Trying to headbang to this EP might cause serious neck injury. Proceed with caution. With that out of the way let's get going. So, do you like your speed metal blackened with a big dose of roll to go with that? If yes, look no further. Strikehammer's music is best described as what it would sound like if Motörhead and Skeletonwitch had a bastard baby. In other words you're in for one hell of a ride. After 17 seconds into the opening track "No Procreation" the EP goes full throttle and doesn't slow down noticeably during the properly named "Satanic Rock Crew". Halfway through we get "A Grave Called Paradise", which starts off with a chugging mid-tempo intro before shifting into that extra gear around the one and a half minute mark, delivering even faster and more ferocious riffs than earlier. But of course they saved the nitro for the title track which can only be described as Skeletonwitch on speed. And since they left all competition in the back mirror, they comfortably cross the finish line with the mid-tempo "Warrior's Strike", doing the victory lap in all its glory.
Spook The Beast - Guided By The Second Sun (Canada)
[Sludge Metal | Post-Metal]
First Spook The Horses, now Spook The Beast: sludge bands seem to love spooking creatures. The turgid, grim, sludgy post-metal from this Waterloo-based five-piece is ominous to inspire fear in the animal kingdom, but while the overall feel of Guided By The Second Sun, their second EP, is dark and brooding, there’s more than pure malice to this release. After the brutish “Shaman”, “Cyclone Coming” offers a more subdued take, and makes effective use of clean guitar delay for a distinctive motif. “Merchants Of Grief” almost completely overlooks visceral force in favour of a stripped-down, contemplative experience reminiscent of the quiet moments on earlier Cult Of Luna albums; Guided By The Second Sun starts with a bang, but ends on a more introspective and reflective note.
VNIMAL - Orchids (Germany)
[Hardcore | Deathcore]
The German VNIMAL scratches that primal itch which urges you to give in and do that crazy hardcore dancing. As much as it hurts my eyes to read the word “metallic” in their Bandcamp page, it is a better word to describe their style of hardcore than saying "metalcore" or "deathcore". While they do have some of the typical characteristics of those genres, like the use of breakdowns and gang vocals, they mostly concentrate on the raw heaviness of hardcore, as well as that impending doom that can be traced back to powerful acts, like Xibalba, Black Tongue, or even Harm's Way. It is a hard-hitting affair with some caustic slow riffs that have that sludge metal filthiness to them for extra bite. There is some entertaining capture and release approach to it all, thanks to the quieter ambient-laced sections. That being said, VNIMAL’s debut EP is mostly a brutal affair, but a really effective one.
by X-Ray Rod
Koschei - Koschei (Russia)
From what I could gather, Koschei is an archetypal antagonist in Russian folklore. A skeletal sorcerer, condemned to never die, who plagues people with his magic. He is grimly represented in the striking artwork of the band’s debut EP. In less than 15 minutes, this Russian black metal band does well in providing a soundtrack to this villain’s mischiefs. The galloping combo of imposing muscular drumming and ice-cold riffs make me visualize this ghostly character as he rides his horse across the stormy sky. Some really infectious groove can be found on most of their, at times thrashy, riffs. They seem taken from the pages of Immortal but with far more evil intentions. The slower, yet still heavy, passages are filled with a foreboding sense of doom and do well in providing enough variety. I can clearly see Koschei releasing a full-length some time soon, especially considering the professional production that lets all instruments and vocals shine through. A short savage black metal with lots of potential!
by X-Ray Rod
Baltum - Losing Myself (Portugal)
[Melodic Death / Black Metal]
Admittedly, it took me a while to finally realize of what Baltum's music most reminds me of: it's the short-lived side project Dæmonarch, made up of members of Moonspell, that created one of my favorite albums of the 90s. Baltum are also hailing from Portugal, and upon closer inspection, the name of the project founded in 2021 reveals an additional clue to its more precise geographical origin, as 'Baltum' is the old name of a Roman settlement that was renamed to Al-Buhera in the early 8th century by Muslim conquerors and eventually became Albufeira. The formula 'power metal + growls = melodic death metal', adopted in inflationary manner by legions of Scandinavian and Finnish melodeath bands in particular, doesn’t work for the five Portuguese; instead it's a self-confident 'death metal + melodic black metal + a pinch of folk influences = Baltum' statement. And that's a damn good thing, because the result sounds a lot darker and more menacing than what we're usually accustomed to hear from the genre. Furthermore, the Portuguese are well aware that there is only one really effective way to stand out from the sheer mass of nowadays releases: good songwriting. And you can hear that very clearly on the EP Losing Myself, because each of the three songs, and especially the catchy closer “Darkest Corners”, have enough potential to become a strong single from a full-length album that will hopefully be released soonish.
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