Welcome to Crack’s monthly round-up of extreme music

Make no mistake, the fringes of music are closing in on you. A world preoccupied by weighty, formless experiments, corpse painted theatrics and palm-muted misery is now but a click away. Those record sleeves decked with unreadable logos – the ones formerly only available in specialist shops in grimy small town malls – are now yours for the taking.

In the last few years the heaviest, most difficult artists committing their work to tape have been able to find an audience with relative ease. Sure, the audiences might not be huge but they’re always fiercely devoted. It’s a beautiful mystery. What seems totally absurd to one listener completely absorbs another. Those who are absorbed? They’re in it for life.

Grindcore, black metal, death metal, power electronics – call it what you like – each month we’re rounding up the best extreme music we can find on the internet and feeding it back to you.

GOATCRAFT - Yersinia Pestis

I, Voidhanger Records

Metal’s inexorable appetite for subdivision often teeters on the side of the inane. Microgenres and subscenes often seem too novelty to last longer than a small handful of releases. Yet Italy’s multi-instrumentalist Lonegoat’s adamantine devotion to GOATCRAFT’s divisive playing style has birthed another tenebrous term under black metal’s densely overpopulated umbrella: Necroclassical. The subgenre – assumedly baptised by Lonegoat himself – is the coalescing of black metal’s acute riff constructs with the chimeric conventions of neo-classical. Not a single guitar string is struck. Instead, Lonegoat thrashes from one octave to another, intensely hammering away at melodic fugues in a state of calculated delirium.

Previous examples of the composer’s endeavour to cement necroclassical as a legitimate addition to the metal lexicon come in the form of GOATCRAFT’S 2013 debut, All for Naught, and his 2014 followup opus dedicated to the works of William Blake, The Blasphemer. And despite being dismally ambient in form, both of these records tread with a sort of self-aware hostility, one that frequently lays dormant in your typical guitar-centric black metal.

With Yersinia Pestis, Lonecraft very loosely applies the predictably bleak backdrop of Europe’s struggle to overcome the Black Plague, yet by invoking the emotive piano capabilities of Paganini and Liszt, the record alludes to overarching themes of man and nature, dance and disease, life and, of course, death. Yersinia Pestis is distinctly wistful, almost jokingly morbid, and it’s also far from the first discovery of metal-come-classical. But over these ten tracks Lonewolf is finally making headway with establishing his necroclassical enterprise.

Denouncement Pyre - Black Sun Unbound

Hell’s Headbangers Records

Despite forming in 2003, Melbourne Australia’s Denouncement Pyre only released their debut record, World Creation, seven years later. Yet what may be deduced as sheer procrastination in comparison to the unfiltered nature of the band’s assigned faction of death metal (where releases are more commonplace than the inevitable rising of the sun), time has been nothing but invaluable for Denouncement Pyre to hone their craft. Black Sun Unbound follows 2013’s Almighty Arcanum, a perfectly produced demonstration of mature songwriting and genuinely original instrumental work.

According to the group, Black Sun Unbound was the most challenging record to date in their limited yet unmarred back catalogue. To a certain degree, this record’s nefarious experimentalism coupled with its blisteringly ominous atmospherics is a serious illustration of ‘blue sky thinking’ songwriting. In fact, the constructs are so plush with ideas it’s hard to find solace from their persistent brainstorming. It seems impossible for Denoucement Pyre to settle with a single riff for longer than ten seconds. Because of this, Black Sun Unbound is as onerous for the listener as it was for the band to produce. Yet for idealistic vision alone, this is an embarrassment of astral ingenuity.

Caïna - Christ Clad in White Phosphorus

Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings

Far removed from the excesses of last year’s Setter of Unseen Snares, Andrew-Curtis Brignell’s and Laurence Taylor’s sixth outing as Caïna and arguably their project’s breakout record, Christ Clad in White Phosphorus is a more credible affair.

It’s a truly authentic amalgam of beautifully austere black metal with inferences of truly abrasive post-industrial music. The production standards are piercingly sharp. The needle-stitched vocals are coarse and craggy. The track assemblage is disjointed and unpredictable. It’s just an assuredly comprehensive record true to the from it was birthed from.

Tracks such as God’s Tongue as an Ashtray interlace fiercely shrill soundscapes with irregular flares of blast beat and torrential guitar interplay. Buttressing this style of playing are oracular Vangelis-awkwardly-meets-Prurient atmospherics such as Extraordinary Grace or the Vermapyre assisted The Throat of the World, utilising Vaudevillian horror soundtrack techniques with homemade instruments. Christ Clad in White Phosphorus is proof that Caïna’s core unit of players are only surpassing expectations upon every release.



This kind of imbecilic, asinine, harmonic pinching, New Wave of British Heavy Metal dad nodding, Anvil trumping, Heavy Metal Parking Lot binging, patch adorned sleeveless denim jacket donning, boot stomping, beer stinking, socially vacant, knuckle bloodied, generally pointless and undeniably generic EP from Detroit’s NUKE is the best sort of passive listening experience you could ever ask for. So grab a six-pack and see if you can drink them all before Metal Inferno and Nuke (Me Baby) finish. I dare you.

Inter Arma - Paradise Gallows

Relapse Records

Paradise Gallows, Richmond quintet Inter Arma’s third full length and sixth record amongst a string of successful splits and EPs, is their first to incorporate clean vocals; a reserved yet significant facet of metal barely ever employed with any sense of purpose or relevance to theme.But here, Inter Arma apply the vocal tool as a supplement to their sprawling doom-laden aesthetic.

Paradise Gallows’s spiralling blend of avant-garde sludge and death metal neatly pockets itself between the earnest savagery of Neurosis and the hyperbolic, stylised indulgence of acts such as Swans, Ghost or even Mastodon. Spanning over 71 minutes in length, this nine track LP is monumentally tense. Vocalist Mike Paparo has never pushed his voice further in polar opposite directions than here; transcending from liturgical humming to dirt churning bellows. It eclipses behaviours, tones, methods and, most importantly, sonic motifs. And it’s this sort of open-mindedness that grants Inter Arma such a eulogised position as being one of metal’s most naturally progressive, universally relevant metal acts. Neurosis for the millennial generation.

Iskra - Ruins

Southern Lord

Originally self-released just over a year ago, this Southern Lord re-release of Canada’s positively prolific blackened crust act Iskra’s Ruins presents the record in its entirety with the addition of three originals from a split EP released back in 2011. Here, it seems that Southern Lord’s intentions were not to realign Iskra’s blackened grind formula, nor was it to douse the material with post-production gloss and sparkle. Instead, Ruins now presents itself as a introductory bumper pack for the heedlessly uninformed international audience. Thankfully by doing so, Iskra’s machine-charged momentum merged with their curt lyrical anarchism has never been more readily accessible. Occasionally melodic, constantly abusive, Ruins is the most unaccommodating welcome Iskra could have petitioned for.


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