Before listening to Spirit Possession, I had the impression that I will be met with some raw black metal record of the US underground. As I completely missed their demo from the beginning of the year, the project form Oregon quickly laid in bed with Profound Lore and already has put forth their first full release, a self-titled record of thirty five minutes of length including new tracks and re-recordings of their demo tracks. I imagine it is one of the acts by Ephemeral Domignostika, a rather busy musician who has been involved in Pale Chalice and is the frontman for Ulthar, not to mention various projects he runs on his own, where in Spirit Possession he is joined by a second member named A. (Tarus, Ormus). While described as black metal, this album is a lot more inclined towards a certain guitar variety of frantic and very harsh thrash metal riffs of the old order, played in unusual rhythm sections and flirting with old school heavy and speed metal, constantly keeping the intensity levels high.
The harsh vocals surely keep in touch with black metal as well, even though there is too much reverb used for my likings, and there are surprising noise additions in the intros of a couple of tracks ("Twin Tongued Pathways" and "Swallowing Throne"), which suggest some influential ground to the exact opposite of the traditional nature of many of the thrash riffs executed in most of the record. What Spirit Possession achieves is to combine elements that are seemingly already known in an efficient way that even makes the album feel as a breath of fresh air in an area with a strictly old school doctrine. Late 80's - early 90's black metal, from a time when it was still undefined, heavy thrash metal, keeping an eye to the future, but above all furious and energetic with a bunch of fine musical ideas.
It would be really interesting to take a closer look to the lyrics of the album too, because they are not currently available and it's hard to decipher anything from the vocals themselves. The titles of the tracks are quite intriguing, adding just a little bit that is need to make Spirit Possession more memorable than the average out there. Produced by Colin Marston (Behold The Arctopus, Krallice, Dysrhythmia), the record might not hit stellar heights for some but gives its own interpretation of things well established. That on its own, is a feat.
Listen to Spirit Possession:
A Diadem of Dead Stars - ... Of Green Pastures
Things have been quiet the last few years for A Diadem of Dead Stars, the atmospheric black metal band from Volos, Greece with -from its band name- obvious influences, yet a new single was posted some days ago. The song is mostly acoustic and captures feelings of primordial Greek folk atmosphere, with echoing clean guitars and sounds of birds, building up to chanting vocals and touching flute melodies that made the track appeal to me more than much of Pilgrim's other material. Fans of pagan folk / ambient and all forest children should check ...Of Green Pastures and include it in their late night walks playlist, it won't dissappoint.
Gloosh - The River
I came across this EP from the Russian project Gloosh only to realize that they had already released a full length this year, earlier in February. Apart from the stunning artwork, the professional production of The River would easily place it among atmospheric black metal releases that would be long awaited for 2020, yet Gloosh is still relatively unknown. Can't help but think a little bit of Drudkh when listening to this, yet the project has more of its own sound and often employs lively and intriguing guitar parts, the use of ambiance and acoustics is apparent and is worth not only listening, but looking into the concepts of the releases (this one and their debut Timewheel).