One Master / Ninhursag – Split

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Label: Eternal DeathRed River Family Records

Regular readers will know that I hold Eternal Death Records in high regard, considering them to be one of the most consistent and discerning bastions of underground extreme metal in the US. You’ll also know that I consider Eternal Death regulars One Master to be one of the most under-rated bands in modern USBM, with their ferocious brand of black metal being consistently devastating. Following hot on the heels of their excellent full-length, Lycanthropic Burrowing, comes a new split release with Ninhursag, a co-release with Red River Family Records, that sees One Master unleash some of their most ferocious music yet; whilst Ninhursag’s take on black metal is more other-worldly and cold, yet no less effective for it.

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Death Vanish / Misanthropos – Split

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Label: Eternal Death

There’s a lot of black metal out there. It’s a statement so obvious it barely needs saying, but the amount of music being released under what was originally the most inward-looking and hostile of extreme metal sub-genres is, frankly, absurd. And a lot of it is absolute, utter shit, too. It can be depressing, going through hordes of new releases and demos in the hopes of finding something worth your time. But sometimes, you’ll strike gold, and come upon something that makes it all worthwhile. The new split between Death Vanish and Misanthropos is one such example. Put bluntly, this is incredible, and should be mandatory listening for anyone interested in black metal in 2017.

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One Master – Lycanthropic Burrowing

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Label: Eternal Death

Were there any justice, then One Master would be recognised as one of modern black metal’s strongest bands. Now in to their fifteenth year of existence, the US band have, in the form of Reclusive Blasphemy, released one of 2015’s best records; and now follow it up with Lycanthropic Burrowing. It is another fine offering of misanthropic, forceful black metal that treads no path but its own, filled with violence and an aura of confidence that absolutely cannot be faked. This is the sound of a band at the height of their powers.

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Blackosh – Rvouci Vichry

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Label: Eternal Death

Formed by Petr Hosek, the original guitarist for Root and a current member of Master’s Hammer, Blackosh‘s take on black metal is every bit as unusual as you’d hope for. Latest EP Rvouci Vichry, despite only being two tracks long, succeeds in being more imaginative and interesting than most black metal bands manage in their entire careers. Taking the eclectic nature of the early Root records as a starting point, Rvouci Vichry follows up 2015’s Kurvy, chlast a black metal album in superb style.

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Alcoholic Rites / Lustrum – Drunk And In Charge (split)

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Label: Eternal Death

The second of two new splits out on Eternal Death, Drunk And In Charge sees Ecuadorian band Alcoholic Rites pair up with Lustrum – who also featured on Too Wild For The Crowd – for four tracks of filthy, thrashing black metal. This is a prime example of underground metal at its most belligerent, with a red-raw sound, no shortage of “fuck you!” attitude and absolutely no subtlety. In short, it’s bloody great.

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Abigail / Lustrum -Too Wild For The Crowd (Split)

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Label: Eternal Death

Looking for something to get your head banging, and remind you of just how powerful metal can be? Then Too Wild For The Crowd is sure to satisfy your need. This split sees Japanese greats Abigail – a personal favourite – join up with Lustrum, who feature members of One Master and Moirgrion. From this you’d imagine you can probably expect a merciless, high-tempo, energetic burst of black metal, and you’d be right. It’s another solid release from Eternal Death, who never seem to put a foot wrong with their releases.

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Vashna – Know The Way To Embrace The Darkness

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Label: Eternal Death

My issue with a lot of death metal is that, in its quest for technicality and dissonance, it lost its soul. Nightmare soundscapes crafted by musicians at the top of their game is all well and good, but when it comes across as existing for its own sake, with no higher purpose or motivation, it can feel a bit flat. That’s not something that can be levelled at Know The Way To Embrace The Darkness by Italian band Vashna. Echoes of bands such as Portal may be impossible to ignore, but Vashna combine otherworldly horror with a much more physical, violent presence than is usual, making this release one that hits both the body and the soul in all sorts of hard, terrible, delightful ways.

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