If you check my Tumblr you know I haven't been neglecting my creative side at all I've just been dealing it in smaller doses. Still worthless shit just easierly indigested. But I feel like actually writing right now. I got six days off work, on break from school - got another 4.0, incidentally; whatever, though, no worries here, bro - so I'm thinking hey, why not Dower it up a little? Forever Cursed posted his top ten demos of the year. That's something he seems takes seriously. Why not Dower that up a little? Okay, let's do it then. Or, as Haxan would say, "without further notice . . ."
DOWER OF REFUSE
HAXAN'S BEST OF 2012 - Part I - The Demo Series
10. Haxan picked Oyarsa's self-titled three song demo to begin his top ten list.
"Can't wait to hear more from this band," Haxan says of Oyarsa's, "really heavy doom metal layered with some really harsh vocals." Luckily I'm very high right now so I'm really feeling Oyarsa's self-described - and Dower-approved - "Ouroboral riffs" as they snake through my brain via headphones hooked up to my laptop whose darkened screen casts back my own reflection. Whoa! I just gave myself chills! These purveyors of doom tunes seem to have the aspirations of transporting the listener to the cosmos, but the achieved effect is instead like staring at a waterlogged cadaver floating facedown in stagnant water as black as Hell's creosote. Think of the kid in the EYEHATEGOD hoodie from your Intro to Astronomy class two semesters ago who would always raise his hand and ask stuff like: "Is it true no one can hear your scream in outer space?" This is what his band sounds like probably.
9. Haxan went with Skygge's three song Heksekunst demo.
There are two Skygges from Norway. This is the one from Norway. Haxan aptly sums up Norway's Skygge when he says: "Norway's Skygge simply deliver some of the most nefarious black metal around. What else could we expect from a black metal band hailing from Norway?" But honestly at 128 kbps, this a great way to transcend your cold room at 2:43 am. Until 2:56 am when the demo ends. I'm with Haxan big T on this one. This right here is some legit, unpretentious Norwegian Black Metal. This band is so grim their shirts don't come in Small, but "Girlie." Yet it's crazy to think at least one of these guys owns a smart phone, or has a blog. Check out Norway's Skygge's 3 song demo "Heksekunst" before your piggies warm up and you can feel 'em again.
8. Haxan chose Monomakh's much-hyped MMXII demo.
Haxan's absolutely correct when he begins his testimony of this demo by invoking the band's native country's history of forging solid DM. He writes: "Two words: 'Death Metal' and 'Australia'. In nowadays these two words will immediately hook up any extreme death metal fan. Monomakh are no exception." What more needs to be said?
7. Haxan felt that Torture Chain's Time is but a Doorway to the Incinerator was the seventh best demo of 2012.
Music, I think, is of such an ethereal nature that the less human made it seems the more enjoyable it becomes. There is something at once enlightening and demystifying about seeing a band live whose music you previously conceived to be not made by so much as simply being the ambience of orcs and goblin kings in the hellish bowels of a distant reality. Before I started seeing metal bands regularly, back when I was in elementary school, way before my family got a computer with the internet, I used to listen to like Reign In Blood on the school bus and - with my hyperactive televisual imagination and all - I honestly could not conceive of the music as a creation of humans. To me, GWAR was the rule and not the exception. Every metal band looked like that. Most of all fucking Slayer! Even in high school, probably because I was constantly watching the The Lord of the Rings movies and the music videos I watched that weren't just to help cope with puberty were videos by like Cradle of Filth and Marilyn Manson and my high school was like 25 minutes from my house and the kids lived scattered all over the countryside so my morning bus ride was always an album's length long at least. I remember I'd sit by myself somewhere in the middle, near one of the heaters, and as the bare trees like charcoal sketchings smeared by beyond the frosted window, Dying Fetus sounded like genuine monsters to me. Monsters who weren't even playing instruments. They were just moshing and having a blast. It took me a long time, an embarrassingly long time, to acknowledge the existence of the instruments and discern the difference between like the guitar and the drums, let alone the kick and the snare. I was too caught in the emotional effect music, especially metal, had on me. Torture Chain is one of those rare bands that give me the too faint and far too occasional remembrance of those feelings past.
6. Haxan elected to award Sodb's Don Seantalamh a Chuid Féin the pretty cool, somewhat coveted number 6 spot.
"This is amazing. Pure and simple. You shall not be disappointed," raves ExNoctemNacimur, a metal fan who posted his/her review on the Metal Archives of Sodb's four song demo Don Seantalamh a Chuid Féin. As Haxan informs us, Sodb is "another great gem" from Ireland. The aesthetic here is obscurity, but the approach is ambitious, protean and almost meta-. Which makes for a pretty interesting journey that will last you ≈ 34 minutes. Sodb are more akin to Primordial than their likewise countrymen Altar Of Plagues, but in a Venn diagram of two Celtic ankhs, one ankh being Primordial, the other ankh Altar Of Plagues, one would find Sodb there in the middle where the two tear drops merge to make a something like a slightly-opened eye. These four songs aren't bad, but they're a little ZZZzzzZZZzzzZZZ, which is how I find most Irish Pagan Black Metal from Dublin to be at 3:36 am after a long night of heavily drinking under the influence of pain pills. Probably worth your (day)time after all.
I've since slept. Sodb is good. Some sick spoken word stuff during "Tethered." Total Refuse! Like Haxan says: "with this demo, Sodb really made some notable work."
5. For the number 5 position on his top ten list of demos of the year 2012 Haxan chose Déliquescence and their demo, Antinomisme.
"Déliquescence," as Haxan explains, "can really create a dark and mystical atmosphere in which we blindly dive in full darkness." This "mysterious" two-piece - three if you count the drummer, but Déliquescence doesn't, so I won't scuff up their steaze - hails from Quebec, of covrse. Their name means decay, more or less. The name of the demo is an ideological concept that denies the existence of a social moral code or something. I could be totally wrong here.
4. The Dower bites its fist as Haxan reveals his number 4 demo of the year 2012: Laster's Wijsgeer & Narreman.
Right now it gets real. The astute supplicant knows what I'm talking about. I had a brief stint with CVLT Nation. I hope I can still publish some stuff through them but my contributions dropped completely when school started back up. One of the few things I did review, however, was Laster's demo. It inspired me to go overboard and overwrite and just go for it and have fun. It was a great time writing it and going back and reading it I find it to be convoluted, unfocused and very entertaining to read. Then I read Haxan's review and my world fell down around me. It's like watching Gavin Rossdale play guitar. You're just like "Welp. I quit. Welp. Uh . . . that was the worst thing that could've ever happened to me, was seeing how fucking good that guy is at guitar. Can I even call him a guy, or, a man? He's a god. Welp. I quit guitar." That's how I feel about reviewing metal after reading how succinct and eloquent Haxan is in his review of Wijsgeer & Narreman. Check it out:
"This is one EP i've been hooked on lately. Featuring members of Northward (from whom i've talked about their awesome Demo here) and White Oak, Laster is a Dutch black metal formation founded and located in Utrecht, the Netherlands. "Wijsgeer & Narreman" is a conceptual work presenting us three tracks inspired by Goethe's tragic play, Faust. The first impression i got when i heard this EP for the first time, was about their sound, if these guys were north-american they would get the label "cascadian" written all over them. The sound of "Wijsgeer & Narreman" is quite good, it features an outstanding drum work and some creepy voice, almost like one harpy coming straight from the most dark and frozen mountain cave. Delivering three great and emotional tracks, Laster did a terrific job with this EP. It carries a lot of poetic emotions balanced with the right dose of grimness. It's going straight to my shelf of the best EPs of the year for sure. The band is looking for a label to manifest a physical release, so if by the way you run a label and if you are interested, contact them here. Check out the EP on their Bandcamp (where you can download the EP for free) and get your dose of black metal for today. Highly recommended!"
3. Haxan went with Hallow's self-titled debut for his number 3 demo of the year.
These guys are from Eugene, Oregon. Heard that place is pretty boring, majestic and all, but very boring. "No worries" is the area's creed, according to a friend. Seems like Hallow's got one worry, though, or fixation more precisely: being really fucking heavy. Haxan calls them the "most heavy, slow, mournful doom." And I, like Haxan, am a "sucker for this kind of sound and this demo" also "really fulfills my hunger for this kind of doom." These two tracks are almost as heavy as they are long and they're very long. Almost as long as the day me and my aforementioned friend who now lives in Eugene and our other friend who now lives in FLA watched The Matrix trilogy. I quit my job the next day. I went in and was like: "No. Fuck no. I can't do this no more. Fuck you, Karrob! Fuck you, Muki! I quit, Bill. No! I fuckin' quit. I want out! Get me outta here!"
2. Crepúsculo Negro's Muknal's Muknal
Whoa. Ain't heard these guys yet. Pretty wild stuff here. It's got the crawl of Death/Doom, but the atmosphere of some trvly gnarly cassette-borne BM. Definitely worth your time. Total refuse. Completely agree with Haxan when he calls this "one of the most vile demos" he's heard all year.
1. And Haxan's number 1 demo of the year 2012 goes to . . .
and their demo Widrstand.
The dude who put this out, Michael from Fallen Empire Records, used to live here in Pittsburgh. He was going to Pitt for something. Probably bizness. Not sure if he's still around. I haven't seen him at any shows in the past few months so I'm guessing not. This cassette kinda reminds me of losing a friend, not really Mike from FER cuz he wasn't my friend, but maybe Mike the friend who lives in Oregon now. It's a metal album, so it's aggressive, but it's atmospheric BM so it's emo a little too. It is really well done, however. Check it out if you feel like it. Wouldn't be my number 1 pick, but it'd probably be in my top 10. Swiss Emo Black Metal for Bloggers with Trve Feelings and Real Problems.