Genre: Depressive Black Metal
Label: Naturmacht Productions
Bandcamp: Inexistenz – Free Online Stream
Inexistenz is a Slovenian one man project playing straight Depressive Black Metal without modern or superficial influences.
“Erfundene Welten”, the second full-length album has a raw and cold touch, but in the meantime it is very melancholic and dark. The composition has a “classical” depressive black metal with drums and a rhythm guitar ranging from slow – mid pace (mostly) to fast tunes. The vocals are typical for this genre, not as is common, but just balanced high pitched depressive black metal screams.
It is kind of hard for me to explain in words how a good depressive black metal sounds like, but if this 6 track album would have a “story”, maybe it would be something like this …
There are some dilemmas that still define our existence, from quite ordinary daily basis questions to existential – philosophical ones. Probably the best known / popular in our days is a small passage from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” - “To be, or not to be: that is the question”.
But what are we exactly? What are we looking for? What do we want ? Is there a correct answer to any of these questions, is there a “standard” for all of us? Many of us don’t ask this kind of questions because “ignorance is bliss” and this is how all of those “sand castles” of fake fulfillment appear around us only to crumble at the first cruel hit of reality.
There is no understanding, there are no content moments and there is no absolute freedom. There is no life, only complete darkness and emptiness. We’re just pale illusions of what we were, lurking in a grey and oppressed world, lost between our own ruins, never being able to find our place again, decomposing and forever forgotten. We are our most feared enemy, our worst nightmare and cast our own sentence to complete silence and loneliness and no matter how hard we try, in the end there is only nothingness.
… and this his how “Erfundene Welten” sounds like. It is a little gem in a treasure box that, in recent time, didn’t surprise me with any truly good Depressive Black Metal. Great production, great composition and, as a bonus, 36 free minutes of therapy trough nihilism and depression.
I recommend you all check-out this album, nice release from Inexistenz and Naturmacht Productions.
Rating: 8,5 / 10
1. Verloren in der Neer
2. Erfundene Welten
4. Mitternachts Gedanken
5. Zu misslingen bestimmt
Total playtime: 36:06
Inexistenz – Facebook Page
Dark Metal, Post Black Metal
Hypnotic Dirge Records
Netra, probably this name is not familiar to most of the readers out there so I think a little intro about the band would be helpful and well received.
This project is a one-man band from France, the idea behind it was first thought of, back in 2003 and after seven years, Netra raises the interest of Nick Skog, owner of the Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge Records, thanks to whom the first album “Melancolie Urbaine” is finally brought under the spotlight in December 2010.
There are some very interesting things to say about the first release, “Melancolie Urbaine”, but all of that in a future review of the album.
Netra is a strange and unique entity in this obscure and underground metal scene. The influences vary from depressive black metal, moody jazz passages, black metal to trip hop. Yeah, I know … black metal and trip-hop, that’s new.
Sørbyen, released in September 2012 by Hypnotic Dirge Records continues the experimental path of the previous full length album and it still is a very exotic, yet strange release, even for 2012.
Sørbyen like “Melancolie Urbaine” is the result of our anxiety, depression and boredom, states that simply amplify in this urban jungle we call “cities”.
A dance with the asphalt, the first track on the album starts with a classy jazzy/soul moment, perfect for a night audition , but quickly transforms itself in a hectic post black metal song, with some really quick guitar riffs and drum beats. Moments specific to the dark metal scene, okay, maybe you can go somewhere near the “city life” influences found in Lifelover or better, in Sanctas Poenas. Crawling, the next song on the album releases the trip hop influences, sadly, it’s not making a big impact.
Soerbyen is a very dark and atmospheric song, slow drum beats, oppressive bass lines … 4 minutes of urban desolation, depression.
From the slow passages we jump to a really fast track, with a little bit post-punk in the intro, A kill for a hug is the perfect example of Netras ability to surprise and also to perfectly combine post-black metal elements with some trip-hop passages. This song is something similar to Amesoeur, but a little bit more “electric”.
Streetlamp Obsession and Emlazh have more powerful trip-hop influences, Streetlamp only with some passages throughout the song, but Emlazh in entire, a little bit less at the end.
From here, until the end, there are six more songs … songs that continue this experimental path, same influences but none of the songs are similar. I will let you discover them.
Still, one of this six, “Concrete Ocean” is probably the most mature song of them all, a perfect depressive black metal track, great distorted guitars, inspired dbm vocals … probably the best track on the entire album.
Not sure if there are more to be said about this album, it’s intriguing, it’s unexpected, it’s a perfect mix of urban life painted in a gloomy grey. Maybe you’ll find it strange at the first audition, but for sure you’ll find interesting things for a one man band after a re-listen
Rating : 8 / 10
1. A Dance With The Asphalt
4. A Kill For A Hug
5. Streetlamp Obsession
7. Wish She Could Vanish
8. My Ill-posed Life
9. It’s Kicking In
10. Concrete Ocean
11. Strange Bliss At Dusk
12. I Shall Slay The Monkeys
Interview with Deng
Pest Productions owner and co-founder of Dopamine
1. Hi Deng, first of all thank you for this opportunity to have a direct interview with you. For the start, as a little “intro”, please tell us something about yourself, a short brief.
………..Hello, it’s an honor and pleasure for me to be in this interview. I don’t have much to self-introduce, I just run some music labels and I’m a image designer.
2. Since you are/were active in almost all the areas of the music industry, lets start with the label, Pest Productions. How was “Pest Productions” born and what did you want to achieve with it (the idea behind the label)?
……………Formerly Pest Productions was a tiny nameless distributor. In the year 2005 some friends (the band Be Persecuted) and I was arranging the first demo of them, then Wu from Be Persecuted and I found Pest Productions to release the work. After the demo released, Wu left the label. Then I started to run it all by myself.
3. Did you encountered any problems at the start, with the label?
…………………………Yes I encountered many. In the early days of the label we mainly release Chinese black metal bands’ works. Though, the sell records in our own country was really awful because in China extreme metal listeners were few. In the end of 2006 we released the first Pro-CD — the first album of MidWinter and it turned out we couldn’t recover our costs. We tried so hard to recommend this album to labels/ distributors in Europe and North America, but they barely answered. I was very disappointed and got ready to shut down the label. Then some friends helped me out, especially English label/ distributor Under the Dark Soil. However, there were kinds of problems in the early years, including manufacturing, ect.
4. Since Pest Productions is almost a black metal label, how it seen in China ? Tell us more about the black metal scene in China and the bands from there, signed at Pest Productions. (I’m aware of Tomb, Zuriaake, Deep Mountains, Heartless )
…………….The black metal environment is now much better than it was years ago. More and more listeners start to try black metal but the whole number is still small. And many of the listeners only focus on the western big-name stars. The appreciation and praise, even any feedback, mostly comes from oversea. Rare local bands get the attention of Chinese listeners. But it doesn’t matter. In China it’s mostly impossible to do extreme music as a career. Musicians signed at Pest Productions have their own jobs. They just meet, compose and record in their spare time. They are all each other friends and many people from many bands cross-cooperate. Zuriaake will join Deep Mountains’ new album.
5. Any other bands from China worth mentioning?
…………To be honest, I don’t really focus on black metal bands in other Chinese labels. But I commend Martyrdom and Hellward (their new work will be released by Pest).
6. Since we’re talking about bands, genres … what is your personal opinion about Depressive Black Metal and this new wave of blackgaze, post black metal. How do you see this genres ?
…………………..Pest released some Post Black Metal works in these years. I like many genres of music, including post black metal. But by now this genres seems to be in a bottlenecks. Still, we can see some bands trying to bring new thoughts and elements, such as the new single of Silence of the Old Man, культура курения, So Hideous, My Love…, ect.
7. From genres to bands. Please give me some details about Dopamine. What was your role in the band? I was very impressed with Fan Night Part 1 and the compilation, what happened with the project ?
………….Dopamine was formed by my friend Jiang and me. Usually we would write and program the songs together, then he would record guitars and bass. The writing process was rather fast, each song would usually take one day to write. The session singer was my friend Zhao from Be Persecuted. The band ended due to some personal reasons. Jiang had another similar project named Lostime after that, but ended quite soon as well. He now has a band called Jacky Danny, killer 80′s hard rock.
8. Since the beginning of the label, now Pest Productions is also well known outside China , there are many foreign bands signed by your label. Some future plans for the label, your signing policy ? What would a band need to “have” to get the attention of your label ? ( maybe some advices for the “young bands”)
…………..Pest is a nonprofit label and it’s, let’s say, kind of personal. I like many genres and there are always new bands that catch my ears. I enjoy discovering new faces / bands and I cooperate with those who fit in Pest’s nature and I really do like it.
9. There are also some sub-labels of Pest. Any details about them ?
………….”Ashes” releases some very limited demo and Ma?jusaka mainly releases Depressive Rock.
10. This are modern times and the need for fast information is huge, how do you see the role of internet in this underground metal scene ?
………………… There are many people that dislike the music digitizing and the internet spreading, but for me the music itself is the most we should focus on. Sometimes to share a niche music is not totally a bad thing.
11. How can people get hold of the albums or find more infos about the label and its bands ?
…………..If want to get our newest info and listen our releases, please keep an eye on our:
Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/PestProdPromo
12. To let some space, maybe for a future interview, some final words for Hymnes Funeraires readers ?
…………..I’m greatful to you reading this and if you’ve got any advise and any good bands to recommend, please send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
13. Thank you again for this opportunity, the interview and I wish all the best with your future projects, the labels!
………We will do our best to bring more excellent releases!
Agael / Lebensnacht – Apathologie
Ambient Black Metal
“Apathologie” is one of the latest releases of Naturmacht Productions, a split CD of two German bands Agael and Lebensnacht. Both of the bands play ambient black metal and this release is an artistic creation of “freeing the soul from the prison called common life and start the true life”.
The CD is split in two, the first part has four Agael tracks and the second part another four from Lebensnacht, with a total playing time of 40 minutes.
The process of finding this “true life” it’s seen different by this two bands. Agael, a one-man solo project from Germany plays a more atmospheric black metal, the music is filled with emotions, gloomy passages and a melancholic atmosphere.
The first song of Agael, Offenbarung, is a small instrumental intro, the piano and the keyboard are the predominant instruments in this track, both of them are creating a very dark and pessimistic atmosphere, the perfect sound for a small walk-through in our plain life.
Vom Nichtsein, the second track, reveals the “metal” part of the band and I must say that the first 30 seconds of the song are surprisingly awesome, trough their simplicity and the psychedelic touch. After the intro, the song changes little by little to a more black metal style. Don’t aspect fast and raw black metal moments, this track is a combination of dark atmospheric passages, some post black metal guitar solos, low distorted guitars and some mid paced drum passages. Still, the type of the vocals used remind me of the old German black metal bands, still it remains in this softer atmospheric zone.
Remorphose and Die letzte Geburt are the last two tracks from Agael, the first one is a pure instrumental track and it keeps the post-black influence when Die letzte Geburt has a more depressive black metal approach, from sorrowful guitar riffs, slow depressive drumming, harsh vocals.
Lebensnacht opens its act with Geboren, a similar track as Agaels – Offenbarung, an all instrumental song with very gloomy piano passages, still, this song creates a more overwhelming atmosphere than the first song.
Im Käfig is the eternal struggle of the human soul, a struggle to escape from this putrid world. Lebensnacht seems to approach a more raw, depressive black metal style. Tortured vocals, harsh distorted guitars, perfect ingredients for depressive moments.
Lebensnacht, has a slower tempo as Im Kafig, but I think that the emotions emerging from this song are more powerful. The continuing struggle to escape this world, the moment when you feel that there’s no more hope, all of this may lead to a final solution … death, and this solution can be felt in this song. Dem Ende Nah is the final chapter of this split, the solution, the end, the start of a new “true” life.
In the end, “Apathologie” is the vision of this two bands regarding life and the endless struggle to escape our condition. A process that from Agael‘s point of view can be done in isolation and literally freeing itself from this world and life, to begin a new one or from Lebensnacht view, a more extreme solution, death.
Rating: 8.5 / 10
1. Lebensnacht – Geboren
2. Lebensnacht – Im Kafig
3. Lebensnacht – Lebensnacht
4. Lebensnacht – Dem Ende Nah
5. Agael – Offenbarung
6. Agael – Vom Nichtsein
7. Agael – Remorphose
8. Agael – Die Letzte Geburt
Ambient Black Metal / Depressive
鳳凰絕 meaning in English “Phoenix will be dead”, is the second release of the Chinese black metal band, Tomb. The first full length album, “Witches Sabbath”, also released by Pest Productions, had a very good impact on the black metal listeners, I fully remember my surprise when I first heard the song that has the album name, Witches Sabbath or Migration.
This two songs were a little bit more complex than a simple black metal track, especially Witches Sabbath, a song that combines some blackgaze elements, like some very atmospheric passages made just by some simple pinched guitar chords, depressive black metal, with some melancholic slow driven guitar riffs, sorrowful guitar passages, painful vocals and black metal, really fast blast beats, fast riffs and screamed vocals. Migration has a more black metal approach, but the interesting part is towards the end, where a traditional musical instrument is added to the track. The rest of the tracks have a typical black metal style.
The production of the album was more than okay and for a one man band the album was really surprising.
Let’s get back to the second release, this time it’s an EP, with a total playing time of 23 minutes. In fact, this EP has just one track on it, called Phoenix will be dead, the same as the EP.
This track has a very different approach regarding to the first release. The backbone of the album is oriented towards a more blackgaze influence, there are lots of ambient passages, sorrowful guitar lines and the vocals express some very pessimistic emotions. I think that this EP is continuing the path opened by the song Witches Sabbath, found in the first release, it’s more atmospheric, more gloomy and it has much more depressing and melancholic moments than a typical black metal track. The vocals are also more dynamic, there are some very painful screamed tones and also some low growled vocals. Of course, there are also black metal parts in this song, but this parts are not the main ingredient for this EP.
This EP, “Phoenix will be dead”, is a step towards a more melancholic and sorrowful scene and from my point of view, it’s a step forward. The human soul and mind can create some very disturbing, yet really pleasing depressive moments, so, there are things to be unveiled. This EP will surely make the DBM fans enjoy every minute of the song.
Rating 8 / 10
Shroud of Distress
Depressive Black Metal
Right from Germany, a country that it’s like a temple for metal bands, a new band that would head towards a more underground metal scene was formed. Shroud of Distress is quartet formed in 2010 by M., Blackout, A. and N. (yeah, this are their scene names).
“Be happy” is their first EP and if you think that the name of the EP is a little bit too optimistic, the music is surely not ! The EP has just 4 songs and it has a total playing time of 30 minutes.
Right from the start you’re hit with some very catchy guitar passages, repetitive distorted solos by one guitar and sorrowful cried solos on the second guitar. The vocals scream out pure pain and depression, a tortured moment for all living creatures out there and the rhythm varies throughout the song from mid-tempo to high-tempo passages. The last part of the song is pure inspiration … “No signs of a Murder … It was a kind of meaningful cut in his arm. “
“Life Underestimated” continues the path opened by the first song, great depressive vocals, variations in tempo, great black metal guitars.
“Discolored Leaves” is a more oppressive track, the atmosphere created by the bass and low drum sounds is very overwhelming, it gives you the impression that you’re lost and forgotten in this world, alone with your thoughts.
The last song on the album, “Signs”, is probably the farewell letter of this album. The first 2.30 minutes gave me the impression that the end is inevitable, all of this just with some clean cold guitar, still, after this mournful intro, the song increases in intensity and it takes a little bit of every song. The guitars are again really good, some very catchy riffs, the vocals are just perfect for a depressive black metal band
There is no written “outro” for this review, there are so many emotions and some much power involved in this EP, I can just wish you, “Happy” listening !
Rating: 8.5 / 10
1. Be Happy
2. Life Underestimated
3. Discolored Leaves
Silence Of The Old Man
Post Black Metal
Silence Of The Old Man is a one-man post-black metal band from Chile, the creation of Carlos “Aukka”. We Europeans could see this band more like a “exotic” appearance, strictly regarded for its origin, but in a ironic way, the music played by Carlos is more familiar to us than to its compatriots.
Silence Of The Old Man was created in 2007 as a parallel project, by then with another name “Human Damned”. The name of the band is an representation of Carlos’s personality, the person who he is, his “old” vision about life, a quiet man, contemplative.
“Carencia De Ausencia” was finished in 2010 and it was first released as a free download on the internet, but after some good feed backs from the fans, an official printed album was released in 2011 by Pest Productions, with a better production, new mix and new master.
The album has a full length of 40 minutes, 5 tracks with an average playing time of 7 minutes, one intro and one outro. The album has a very interesting approach regarding its music orientation, the guitars are very raw and fast, typical to black metal and you can feel this right from the first track, “Cicatriz de olvido”.
This song has black metal flowing trough its veins, the intro is very aggressive, raw guitars, fast blast-beats and killing black metal screamed vocals, only towards the end the song losses a little in its intensity (but not too much).
“El Silencio De Los Lamentos”, the third song on the album is pure instrumental, but compared to the second one, “Cicatriz De Olvido”, it has much more post black influences, the guitar passages are more specific to the black-gaze scene, but this are backed with fast drum beats and heavy distorted guitars.
“Tiempo De Miseria” and “Ausencia” are the last two long songs on the album and from my point of view probably the best ones on “Carencia De Ausencia”. The first one I think it’s the most balanced track on the entire album, a really good combination of post-black elements, mid-tempo drum rhythm and depressive vocals, but “Ausencia” I believe it sends the most desperate and depressing feelings to the listeners. It combines really well some slow melancholic passages with depressive black metal parts, a real blow to the listener.
All in all, this is a good release and probably best for listener who enjoy both the black-gaze scene and the depressive one. Yeah, probably it should focus more on one or another ( I think that somewhat like “Tiempo De Miseria” would fit perfectly), but we will see this only on their future album. Another small part that can be improved it’s the way the vocals are used, but this wont be a problem for the black metal listeners.
Rating 7.5 / 10
Lost Inside, for those who haven’t run into them before, is a musical project born in the US, made of Kold and Surtur (2011), two members that are also involved in other DSBM projects, for example Means to an end, Winder of Silence, Drowning, etc – so, it might as well be said that they have quite a background when it comes to black metal that awakens dark emotions.
“Mourning wept beside me” is, to my surprise, the second full length album that appeared in 2011. I always have some retentions when it comes to bands that release more albums a year or are involved in more musical projects of the same genre, and this time happens because I think that a different album that’s also impressive cannot be produced all over again from a band to another.
Lost Inside has managed to surprise me with a demo released in 2009 – “Never Again”.. a DSBM album that’s pretty standard, without too many arabesques, but well made and pretty knotted.
However, in my background research, I discovered that this band experiments pretty much, they don’t follow the same line from an album to another, for instance, Sullen Reflections is purely instrumental, while Hearts will Grow Heavy has some influence of shoegaze and post black.
“Mourning wept beside me” is something very similar to what I heard from Benighted in Sodom, a depressive black metal that’s more atmospheric and that’s pretty plain, with no sudden ruptures of rhythm or alert moments.
The production fits the style, a rather harsh and cold sound. The riff part reminds me of BiS the most, not very diversified, very repetitive and down tempo, 2-3 riffs that expand sometimes from an edge to the other of the track.
DSBM is usually best felt through the way that the vocals send further those emotions and states of mind, and at this chapter, “Mourning wept beside me” isn’t all that great. The vocals, even if sometimes suited to the track, they lack honesty. When it comes to variety and the way that it’s interpreted, I can’t say it is a total failure, but it simply doesn’t succeed to communicate those emotions just as strongly, they seem very standard to me, and some of them should not be there.
The drumming is standard, slow tempo and with repetitive beats. There are some moments when a tiny rupture of rhythm is present, but all in all, they’re repetitive.
The album manages to create a grey atmosphere, to awaken your interest at times, but I don’t think it’s enough. Something lacks, the album feels too plain, too similar as an unit. I firmly believe that if it was possible, Dusktone should’ve released “Hearts will Grow Heavy” on the market instead of “Mourning wept Beside me”.
If you enjoy more the atmospheric part, rather than the harsh, cold, painfull extreme parts in depressive black metal then you’ll enjoy the album.
Rating 6.5 / 10
2. A ghost among people
3. Four walls and a restless shadow
4. Like a wilted flower
5. Feed on tears
Physical review copy of this release provided by:
Acrosome, formed, surrounded by two “shining souls” ( D.A and D.Y ) and contrary to most people’s expectations, they’re from a zone that many people consider exotic when it comes to extreme metal. However, Turkey (their former country, yes), has managed to surprise me with one of the darkest and most brutal bands of depressive/ extreme black metal. ( beside Acrosome, i should also remind you of Cragataska, Sociopath, Zenith Maudlin, Valefor, The Sarcophagus).
Acrosome showed up online in 2010, but the official release of the mini-cd called “Dementia Praecox” happened in May 2011 through the label Dusktone.
The first insight for the album, without even listening to it will be from the name of Acrosomes MCD. Dementia praecox ( premature dementia or precocious madness ) refers to a chronic, deteriorating psychopathic disorder, a specific disease concept that implies incurable, unexplained madness.
The album consists in shorter track lengths, shorter than we’re used with but this is not necessary a bad thing. It starts with an intro of 2 minutes “Onsoz”, a pretty typical and often encountered intro; Dark, cold and atmospheric, supported by a very sinister spoken vocal part. The passage that leads to the part of extreme metal is made directly from the end of the intro to the second song, “Farkindalik Reaksiyonu”, a track that has all the elements of DSBM: moving screams, not too fast drums, but pretty heavy and a continuous passage of keys that create a grim and gloomy atmosphere. The bad part in this story is that the track is shorter than the intro and I mean around 2 minutes.
The album tends to be a very dark one, it creates an image that you usually see (if you have the luck or the bad luck, depends on how you see the things..) in a sanatorium. “Dementia praecox” is full of bizarre structures, ambiental black metal, a combination of cold, atmospheric passages and chaotic, ravishing ones, with hard riffs and slow ones as well. ( especially in Reaksiyonel Idea, a track that you can easily classify as funeral doom) and vocals similar to Silencer (though, not that extreme). The emphasis is put on this side of ‘ behavioural disorder ‘, mental disease, and this thing can be seen in the parts that are dominated by that vocal type mentioned earlier.
… a well made prescription for an album with the name of “Dementia praecox”.
I would also have a minor minus to add to this mini CD, at the production part, it has a pretty clean production quality to it, but some tracks give the impression that they’re only small fragments and because of this the passage from one track to another is sometimes made quite sharply. It gives you the impression that it’s a raw material that needs to be finished. The songs that are based on spoken passages and an ambiental black metal, “Önsöz”, “DP 1898″, “Doktora”, tent to “cut” the album from its roots, the depressive metal one. In the end I don’t think that even half of the album is pure depressive black metal, the rest is focused on the cold atmospheric parts.
All in all, Dementia Praecox is far from a bad album and is definitely worth checking out.
Rating : 7.5 / 10
2. Farkindalik Reaksiyonu
3. DP 1898
5. Reaksiyonel Idea
Physical review copy of this release provided by:
Style: Depressive Black Metal
Considering the German origin of Beyond Helvete, one might say it has an advantage over other bands. Lately, Germany has been having a very active underground metal scene that left deep scars in the DSBM area through bands like Sterbend, Coldworld, Anti, Bethlehem, etc.
Nonetheless, however underground you may call this subgenre of black metal, DSBM has lately dealt with a popularity boom among the bands, thus looking for and finding something original sometimes give you a headache.
According to the info sheet, the album Self Therpy could be looked upon as ‘’a journey through yourself’’ and when talking about deep emotional black metal, this journey couldn’t be otherwise than gloomy, misanthropic and negative.
The highlight of deep emotional black metal is the way Natrgaard makes use of his voice along the album; it is a twisted and painful sound, quite atypical even for a DSBM band, but at least it sounds unique.
It is probably the only aspect that makes a difference compared to other black metal albums, even if the album is well organized and produced.
Musically, the album tends towards a traditional black metal on tracks like Fears and, here and there, towards Shining influences, especially due to the way more rock and metal styles are mingled.
Structurally, the songs encompass alternating slow rhythm, monotonous riffs and dark atmosphere with brutal passages and aggressive riffs. The transition between passages is made through acoustic tricks.
Broadly speaking, Self Therapy creates a foray in a dark and anguished world and all you can hear is the direct result of these feelings; it reflects emotions, feelings and bleak, negative thoughts. It is an album that can be taken in after several listenings, it doesn’t bring many changes to the genre, but the vocals are something you need to accommodate with. On the whole, it as a well done album and very emotional in a dark and black metal way.
Format: 6 panel / Digipack CD
A nameless desire
The More I Know
+ Soul Reflection, Self Therapy, The More I know