Label: Crown and Throne LTD
A split between two of the most solid, no-bullshit bands in underground doom, containing two tracks and running to almost forty minutes, this is a record for losing yourself within. It offers two different takes on long-form doom, mixing introspection and spaciousness with crushing weight and claustrophobia. As emotionally heavy as it is musically (i.e., very), this split is bloody great, and should not be overlooked.
Label: Art As Catharsis Records
Containing two tracks and clocking in at just over forty minutes in length, this split between Siberian Hell Sounds and Convulsing is a dense, challenging listen. Filled with unsettling violence, this record is one that may require some time to get the most out of, but it also has immediate appeal, with its nightmarishly overwhelming assault grabbing hold of the listener’s throat right from the first moment and refusing to let go. This is music of utmost darkness, of the sort that transcends genre, and that the tag of “extreme” barely does justice to.
Label: Blackened Death Records
Clocking in at 50 minutes, and featuring three DSBM bands of differing styles, Shades of Sorrow could well have ended up being an emotionally crushing, desolate affair. And, to some extent, it is – but that’s how we’d want it to be. Featuring the fury of Suicide Wraith, the eclectic Necrolytic Goat Converter, and the raw sorrow of Uncanny Reality, this three-way split is an underground gem of DSBM that is as punishing as you’d hope, but also with a sense of catharsis running throughout that ensures it never becomes overbearing, and gives the listener plenty of reasons to come back for more.
Label: Eternal Death / Red 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.
Label: 783 Punx
There’s a lot of shit to get depressed about these days. Each morning seems to bring some new disaster on the news, and the world is turning in to an ever-more hostile place for those who are minority groups. As such, it’s heartening to hear bands taking an active stand against all the racism, sexism, and prejudice that is becoming more prevalent. On their new split, hardcore/crust ragers Herida Profunda and London-based powerviolence group Hello Bastards deliver a short, sharp blast against hate, and against those who stand idly by when cries for help are met only by silence.
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.
Label: Inspirus Records
Though there are still those who will dismiss the genre as being conservative and regressive (musically, at least), hardcore is a broad church, with a great variety of sounds and styles to be found. Indian bands Shepherd and Death By Fungi are excellent examples of this, not just because their sounds avoid typical hardcore cliches and take in a wide range of influences, but also because both bands are, quite simply, really good. This split showcases the two delightfully heavy bands, and is a highly recommended half hour of bruising yet intelligent hardcore.