Unholy Exhumation 8/21: Walking through sludge and death

Posted by on August 21, 2015

Unholy Exhumation is a bi-weekly column where we highlight bands buried deep in the underground scene and we believe need to be dug out for those looking for more than just the conventional A-list bands because quality can be found everywhere.

Life is unfair and the music industry is no different when it comes to rewarding the efforts of those who truly deserve it, but instead, highlights those who were on the right spot, at the right time without the need to earn that merit. The never-ending effort of some labels who are deeply dedicated to the underground are some of the many saviors who keep the flame of the unknown alive, and the beauty of the internet is to have easy access to music you never thought it could exist but the pot of gold is only there for those who search for it. We, at Metal Insider, would like to exhort all our dear readers, to look further than the big names you see every year crossing your city and go every now and then to the smaller local shows in your area and probably then, you will see that some of the best acts have been under your nose all this time. Meanwhile, we bring you another small installment of bands who excel at being absolutely crushing.


5. Ketzer

KetzerGermany has nothing to envy anyone about their metal scene, and for that same reason, some bands go unnoticed due to the high concentration of fantastic bands coming from the Saxon region. While some may know Ketzer‘s quality, they still are terribly unknown to many who surely would enjoy their intense black thrash assault. Their debut album, Satan Boundaries Unchained is an absolute masterpiece, combining a catchy song-composition with hellish speed pertinent to the early days of thrash, everything a fan of Nocturnal or Gospel of the Horns can appreciate.

These heretics have been active for almost 12 years and, gladly, they have no intention on stopping anytime soon as they’re getting ready to release their third offering titled Starless and it would be a good idea if you kept an eye for it to see what they can deliver now.

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4. Wovoka

WovokaThere seems to be a certain flow of styles that go with the times, weather or something in the air and sludge has been riding that wave lately with the surge of many bands gripping to their guitars and harsh vocals to sound heavy. Very few of the emerging groups can really transcend, particularly in their first shot but Wovoka came through the door of the Los Angeles’ sludge scene and taught many behind them how things are supposed to be done.

The quartet harvests all the anger and misery out of you and converts it into powerful music which can absorb the happiness out of your jolly self and crush it with its bear hands without even saying sorry once. Well thought-out post metal is becoming a rarity to find, with all bands trying to sound like each other but Wovoka doesn’t seem to care to show its influences, as you can hear in their debut album Saros released earlier this year. Good riffs, excellent atmosphere, and earth-shaking beats is what you can find here and once you do, you won’t let go.

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3. Auric

AuricIf you just look at the album cover, chances are you wouldn’t think much of them or probably skip them. I admit I did at the beginning but then, a friend told me to go back and give it a chance and, damn, do I have reasons to be thankful about doing that. Something to remember constantly that even Sesame Street taught us when we were little spawns of the devil was to never judge a book by its cover and Auric was the perfect reminder of that.

Arkansas birthed these filthy maniacs who know how thick their sludge needs to sound, adding a small taint of black metal elements whenever things start to feel comfortable. Their latest effort Empty Seas came out a few weeks ago and has a buffet to cater every taste, going from pounding doom to progressive passages without any pretension but all the weight the universe can gather. Like many bands out there, it’s surprising to realize a band of this quality are still unsigned but maybe that’s the way they like it and, if that’s the cipher to create such  an immersive music, they better hide and burn any contract they get offered.

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2. Apparatus

ApparatusYou had to know we were going to have some death metal, otherwise, the title would be absolute false advertising and we don’t condone that. The only thing is that if you’re expecting some traditional, meat and potatoes type of death metal, I will have to disappoint you a little; but if you are a fan of unnerving, visceral and dark death metal, Apparatus is the right match for your evil, Cthulian needs.

If a band is going to talk about a mythos revolving on fear and madness, they better sound like the essence of my nightmares and Apparatus doesn’t precisely sound like dreams and marshmallows, but more like the obscure manifestation of everything you love dying in front of your eyes. Mitochondrion or Portal may come to mind when blasting these fine Danish in the comfort of your home or the terrors of your loneliness. Very simple but precise songwriting with a humble nick of dissonance to remind you this is not for those who want to just ‘jam a cool song.’ Their self-titled debut album is fresh out of the oven and probably all you need at the moment.

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1. Kalmen

KalmenUnholy Exhumation is not about positions or ranking and each band exposed here is as equally good as the other but Kalmen is one of the bands I can’t put away for more than a day. The latest allies to the mighty Van Records unleashed their debut album Course Hex earlier this month and it’s a magnificent experience from beginning to end, where you just can’t stop craving for more after every track and that’s exactly the kind of addiction you want on extreme music.

The perfect balance between atmospheric doom and robust black metal can be found here, with an abrasive void behind the beautiful chanting governing the vocals in the majority of the record. Their music isn’t slow as you’d expect but just exact when it comes to decide when to go neck-breaking fast and when to let the vastness of its sound linger to let you lose yourself in it. Undoubtedly a band that can deliver one of the best experience in a live setting so, if you’re in Germany or see them on a festival bill, make sure to catch them and lose yourself into their abyss.

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