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Proper label releases by Triptykon, Mastodon and Behemoth may well have been occupying the heavy part of your mind thus far in 2014 but there's so much great metal available on bandcamp & tape at the moment I had to tell you about these.

"Formed in early 2011 as a Stoner/Doom band in a shithole in Akureyri, but with increased irritability and distress Naught naturally crawled towards Sludge. Naught is driven by negativity."

Yeah. I'd agree. This is not happy music. And the unhappiness seems to extend beyond nihilism about life but nihilism about music as well. Naught seem intent on removing all flash from their sound. ALL flash. Old cliche in metal that in actual fact it's uplifting, creates you an identity, galvanises your pride and isolation. Naught do none of this. They're not larger than life. This is not inspiring music, it doesn't make you feel bigger. Although it's heavy, it's as small as you, as lifesize as your own despair. This is a rawness not borne from any desire for authenticity but a rawness born of shame, appalled horror at music offering any kind of veil. There is nothing mythical or mystical about Naught. They seemingly exist purely to shit this stuff out before it eats their insides. So slow. So one-take. So utterly un-selfpiteous.

Previously only on bandcamp "Tómhyggjublús" (the title translates to "Emptiness Blues" which just about nails it) will soon be available on Transylvania Tapes.

Bandcamp is truly a trove as ever. Too many things to point you towards from names you already know but top of that particular list has to be this new ish from SUNN O))) . . .

. . . of the new breed I'm currently digging Threshing from Tallahassee, Florida, whose free (if you're tight, if not, drop em a dime or several) self-titled 3-track debut kicks off on some eerie buddhist chants and drone (the whole thing is peppered with much found-sound oddity) before 'Church Warden' steps forth on giant, cumbersome legs to flatten your world. The non-majorness of the chords is key here, dropped strings and open-ness more akin to slo-core faves like Idaho or Codeine than anything borne of the horNED hand, delay-strewn distortion over soft acoustics redolent of Flying Saucer Attack or Jessamine. Quite dismally wonderful.

While we're on a doomy tip very much enjoying the charred pustulence of Altar's 'Plague Pit'  which with titles like 'Under The Banner Of Carrion' you know can't fail, and which puts in some fantastic grindhouse samples amidst its titanic waves of fat-heavy gore and sludge. Swedish doom par excellence.

From Italy come Buioingola with their superb 'Dopo L'Apnea' set - possessed massively of that one unplaceable unlearnable variable that makes this kind of post-metal racket work - atmosphere in abundance. If it aint racist to say so (and it probably is) - Goblin would let them play suppport. Intense, emotional, I don't understand a word of it but I feel every second.

Also at the 'looking peaky' end of things, Cursed Altar  (Bio: "Anger. Emptiness. Depression. Hatred") have a new free 4-track album out that's fantastic and completely fucks with your expectations. With most black-metal tracks hitting the 13 minute mark these days 'The Light Shall Die' packs everything (all 4 songs!) in within 6 minutes flat. Abyssal fuzz, song-structures like prolaptic spasms, punk, blackcrust, doom, sludge, noise all chewed up and spat out in 4 little pipebombs of trauma. Utterly superb.

(and if it's straight-up fucked-up church-burning satanism you want, have to say that the hazed-out dazed-out  'Consecration Of The Temple by London-based maggots Qrixkuor will paint it black all summer long. I can't tell if it's fucking awful or fucking magnificent which is usually a good sign that this is great great black metal)

Arizona psychonauts Gatecreeper's self-titled free 4 tracker is some of the finest death metal I've heard all year, crunching riffs, ace double-teamed guitar attack, storming licks and leads and a ferocity to the beats that recalls prime Sepultura or Morbid Angel. Get it while they're still pure and putrid - these guys are too good not to get signed sharpish.

It says "noisy Hardcore Punk from Barcelona" on Veils bandcamp page but that's only a fraction of the story: the tempos are fast but their free debut five-tracker 'Unquestionable Appreciation Of Suffering' is tight as fuck (no songs over 4 minutes), has a density more akin to death metal, and is prone to moments of sheer shrieking noise from the darker end of power-electronics. Loving this fuck-off loud at the moment.

Like so much else that's vital in metal at the moment 'Gatecreeper' and 'Suffering' were first put out on cassette, that long-maligned, increasingly cherished format. Undoubtedly part of what's going on with tape's re-emergence as underground format is a fetishisation of metal's tape-heavy past (alot of us have incredibly clear memories of first hearing Venom, Celtic Frost and others first on bootlegged tapes or fanclub tapes), but it's not just nostalgia or an attempt to copy their heroes that's causing so many bands to use it. It genuinely is a way of parsing out the twats, maintaining a loyal, hardcore underground fanbase. Nashville tape label Graceless Recordings deal with nothing else. Their output is by turns disturbing, hilarious, ear-razing and grimly compelling - particularly spinning a propellor into my soft choppable face are the mighty Alraune who simultaneously channel the unkindred spirits of Sarcofago, Sister-era Sonic Youth and Darkthrone into an unholy caboodle of carnage.

Also Pissgrave's self-titled demo features a truly unpleasant sleeve and some utterly horrific music, all slathered in the most satanic-sounding evil-goblin vocals you've ever heard. Fucking marvellous aggravation.

and Sewer Goddess creates a truly startling femme-take on Industrial Death that's utterly engrossing and will have social services at your door if you even crack a window on it for a moment. Keep it in your headphones and let the demons build around and within you. JESUS WEPT.

If anyone has anything else I should be listening to in Da Wuld Ov Metal please do comment below. Until the sun starts disappearing again, let's keep it dark.


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