Cult Of Erinyes – Transcendence (Caverna Abismal Records)
After a 3 year silence, Belgium’s Cult Of Erinyes, responsible for the rather spectacular “Blessed Extinction,” return with the “Transcendence” EP, a 3 piece release, containing two original tracks, and one cover of Mayhem’s “Pagan Fears,” clocking something less than 20 minutes. Graced with an amazing cover art, and cassette being its only physical format (just 100 copies), “Transcendence” conveys something of the underground black metal’s obscurity, even package-wise. On to the audio department, the band’s new tracks showcase a return to more traditional, archaic black metal forms, the first (“Degrees Of Solitude”) being a serpentine corpus of nefarious mid-tempo and occult hyper-speed riffing, somehow reminiscent of the early ’00s Swedish scene (Ondscapt, Watain, etc). The second one, “Transcendence,” is more on the mid-tempo side, somehow “trekking” in its rhythm, a gaze through bars as you are lowered towards the oblivion of the Abyss (“remember my name” echoes time and again). Top-notch vocals and atmosphere, while guitar riffs may not be hugely innovative, but work well enough as far as the creation of an occult transcendental haze is concerned. “Pagan Fears’” rendition is close to the original, with no surprises, but quite welcome, with just a hint of extra vehemence. All in all an enjoyable but unfortunately short release, which intensifies the wait for the next full-length.
Circle Of Dawn – I (Darker than Black Records)
East Scandinavia’s underground is seething. After last year’s amazing Panphage album from Sweden, I stumbled (almost completely by chance) upon this Finnish trio and their first demo, “I” (they also participated last year in the “Apocalyptic Rites” split release, along with 3 other bands which I know nothing about – Kuilu, John The Baptist, Unclean). Two of the three band members have also played to Hell Spirit, according to Encyclopedia Metallum. What we have in this less-than-20-minutes-long cassette is quite good black metal, roughly along the lines of Panphage (especially on the first track, “At The Circle Of Dawn”), meaning melodic guitar passages, folkish in their core, agile, simple yet fluid riffs. The situation draws from the ’90s Scandinavian well, with a mind to quality. Where this band completely nails it is in the release’s atmosphere: a chaotic nature-worship/heathen/otherworldly mist hovers over all tracks. This is due to both guitars and the overwhelming vocals: from ghostly shrieks and howls from beyond, to passionate almost epic growls in the third track, “As We Walk At The Forgotten Corners Of This World.” This song is the tape’s culmination, showcasing the band’s potential and hinting towards greatness. Finally, the production is raw but not by any chance annoying. A gem of a demo, which creates high expectations for their next attempt.