Instead of running through the usual lists at the end of the year, I’ve decided to change this post up just ever so slightly (fret not, there are still plenty of lists coming), taking a look at some of the best and most interesting demos and splits released in 2013.
Fresh off the press is Malthusian’s much anticipated demo release (through Invictus Productions). Having played just one show in April, Malthusian drummed up a bit of hype before a note of recorded music even revealed itself, mostly down to the characters involved, including members of Mourning Beloveth, Altar of Plagues, On Pain of Death and Wreck of the Hesperus. Several months passed by and what emerged from the mire was their debut three-track demo, a caustic but ambitious death metal foray that taken some inspiration from black metal and doom too but never loses its natural flow. It’s a heady gauntlet for a new band to lay down with a first release.
Staying in Ireland, we have Krawwl, who came out of nowhere with their demo of experimental and angular black metal that’s taken cues from Deathspell Omega but with their own flair. 2014 should be an interesting time ahead, especially with some live shows on the horizon.
Moving into something that is decidedly black metal and also to one of black metal’s (un)holy lands, Finland. Kêres released The Wanderer’s Path demo this year. The tape very much treads a path of orthodoxy, crafting BM compositions that are straightforward with no frills, drenched in frosty, nihilistic atmosphere but riddled with caustic but memorable riffing, especially on second track ‘Two Cores Unite’ while ‘Monastic Spirit Torture’ (listen below) reels things into more wretched mid-tempo riffing with a stronger focus on atmosphere.
Fellows Finns Arnaut Pavle trek an even more old-school path and their new demo tape makes Kêres’ sound glossy and pristine, with its manky Venom-isms and grimy guitar tones, and track titles like ‘Eat the Soil from This Grave’ are an added plus.
However, it’s the demo from Vancouver’s Erosion that really stands out. Featuring former 3 Inches of Blood vocalist Jamie Hooper and members of Baptists, Erosion’s Kill Us All is crusty death metal in excelsis with heads firmly nodding towards Repulsion and Bolt Thrower as well as d-beat; it’s short, vicious, unforgiven and even catchy. Brilliant stuff.
Staying in a somewhat similar sonic realm is the split release from Vestiges and Panopticon. Vestiges’ prior material pretty much took influence from Fall of Efrafa and picked up where that band left off when they split up but with their new material here they have explored more of their black metal tendencies. Meanwhile, Aaron Lunn’s Panopticon had a task ahead of him in following up last year’s acclaimed Kentucky with his black metal/US folk hybrid but his two new tracks complement his latest work perfectly and the cover of Suicide Nation’s ‘Collapse & Die’ makes for another treat.
Moving on again. Short and to the point with just one track each, the split released by Amiensus and Oak Pantheon was a late arrival to the list of 2013 releases but its quality was not all that surprising given that the two bands involved released impressive debut albums last year of epic Agallochian-imbued metal.
Absolutist this year teamed up with Link for a split LP and the former are a band that just keep getting better and better. Last year’s Ave LP was a cracker and this split sees the crust band attempting some new things with a 15 minute piece, ‘Fall To None’ with post metal-like grandeur but still shades of Ave’s urgency intact. Link on the other hand pick up where their last album left off with four new servings of manic dark hardcore.
Check back tomorrow for the albums of the year.