Sunday, March 15, 2015

Bandcamp Picks: Hacavitz, Skogen, Leviathan, Epoch

For all its charms, unrelenting black metal can quickly turn monotonous. Mexico's legendary Hacavitz, having shed the overt Incantation influence of their earlier albums, wisely mix up their blasphemous assault with a generous helping of midpaced (dare I say, rocking) sections that keep Darkness Beyond from dragging. [$7]

The debut by Sweden's Skogen has recently been re-issued as the album, originally released in 2007, has long been out of print. (I would like to take this moment to point out to you trendy cassette and vinyl fetishists that digital releases never go out of print; Bandcamp or bust!). Aside from sharing its name with another Swedish black metal band's seminal debut, Vittra is a masterful take on epic folky black metal. [50 SEK]

Leviathan are back, and this time without any relationship/legal baggage to weigh them down. Scar Sighted is a return to the band's churning roots, filled with eerie atmospherics and blastbeats aplenty. The future of USBM is safe for now (even though, according to mainman Jeff Wrest, this isn't black metal at all). [$8.99]

While many in the current black metal scene seem unable to keep their private lives private, the mysterious Epoch have successfully obscured their identities, even nationalities: All I've been able to dig up about them is their album was recorded in France, though allegedly the band members are Greek. Regardless of its geographic origins, Sacrosanct is the kind of unrelenting blackened death metal that throws my neck out of alignment, reminiscent of Zyklon and Brazilian masters Nephasth. This is a fantastic (I think) debut. Highly recommended. [$7]