None More Black: Forever Plagued Records


Forever Plagued Records are no strangers to the Toilet, but it’s been some time since they sat upon the commode and dropped off a few presents. Firmly ensconced in the deep underground, they’ve never been a label to churn out release after mediocre release, instead choosing to focus on quality over quantity. Last year saw some excellent albums from the label including Akrotheism, Demoncy and Orcultus, but so far this year there has been a dearth of output. Fear not, Flushers. New music is upon us. But don’t get carried away. I’m not talking about some biblical deluge of tunes, rather a few itsy bitsy drips from Satan’s very own spigot.

First off, Colombia’s Nox are about to release a follow up to last year’s Manifestaciones de la eterna noche. The Ancestral Arte Negro EP will be released on August 26th on 7” black vinyl, and it’s packed with over twenty minutes of burnt offerings. It begins as you would expect any quality South American black metal record to begin: with a monstrously bestial riff, veiled in low end belligerence. What follows is less expected as the record quickly mutates into pure Scandinavian second wave orthodoxy. Think Gorgoroth’s Pentagram and you’ll not just be in the ballpark, but right in the center of the field. Reminiscent of the might Hat, even the vocals have that extraordinarily high, ear-splitting frequency that will shatter your beer glass. This is the kind of vocal performance that requires frequent visits to the otorhinolaryngologist.

Ancestral Arte Negro 7_ EPEach of the four songs on offer hover around the five minute mark and there’s not a dull moment to be found, with each having it’s own unique identity. While the riffing is varied, engaging and right in your face, it’s quite surprisingly filled with subtle hooks, and despite the relatively raw/lo-fi sound, the riffs are discernible and wait for it, backed up with audible bass. The production on this record is superb, perfectly walking that taught line between clarity and obscurity like a veteran funambulist. Drum-wise, there’s nothing too fancy with each of the songs showcasing some decent blasting, double-bass rumbling, and dare I say it, even a little bit of head-banging groove. What stands out though is how these techniques seem to be effortless incorporated at exactly the right moment. I don’t know if the riffs would be half as memorable without such a tight connection to the kit. The highlight of the record is the last track, “Esperando La Muerte”, where we see the band exploring their sound, wayfaring into subdued atmospheric black metal territory with some subtle keyboards, arpeggiated chords and a celestial bass-line. Excellent stuff.

You won’t find a whole lot of virgin soil being trodden on this release, but who cares when you have music that is this well executed. If you weren’t around during the second wave heyday (which you probably weren’t, you young rascals), listen to this and pretend that you were.

Next up is the debut record from the bunch of unstable Spaniards that make up Unbegotten. Proem Of The Unborn is a five track EP that will be limited to 150 hand-numbered tapes and also comes out on August 26th. The EP contains five songs (although the first is an ominous sounding and rather unnecessary ambient intro) of raw black metal that care not one iota for your self-absorbed feelings. Most of the songs sound like they are careening uncontrolled down a cobwebbed hallway, bouncing off walls, peeling paint and dinging doorways as they go, attempting to hunt and squash your fragile dreams.

Proem Of The Unborn

The vocals billow in and out at different volumes giving the impression that the vocalist is chasing a microphone-wielding producer around the studio. The sound is oppressive and airless with all instrumentation blurring into one thick cloud of noxious noise. For the most part the riffing is somewhat dissonant, but as it’s so blanketed within the whole murky atmosphere it doesn’t sound quite as discordant as it could (which is a plus). Each of the tracks employs a similar style and feel, and so you can pretty much drop a needle anywhere and get you head kicked in. No need to search for a beating here. When the band does slow it down a little, it’s usually with good effect, releasing a little bit of pressure before tightening the vice once again.

What’s strange about this release is the fact that the songs often end abruptly, making me think that when then band was recording them they thought, “Right, that’ll do it, let’s get onto the next one”. Every now and then some melody can be made out amongst the raging cacophony, and it wasn’t until the tenth play-through that I found some juicy chunks to dig my teeth into (e.g. the midpoint of “Porphyric Curse”). I wouldn’t suggest that you spend this much time searching for nuggets as you’re going to know if this is your thing fairly quickly. All in all, it’s a serviceable release, but probably not something that I will come back to very often.

Obviously, neither of these two bands are on Facebook, so show your support (or not) by sounding off in the comments below, and then mosey on over to Forever Plagued Records to spend your dosh.

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  • Elegant Gazing Globe

    Stanley knows what’s good

  • Forever Plagued Records rules! Total support for this label. Definitely get on their mailing list, they have a ton of special sales and shit on a monthly basis. They are located in my state as well, so I get my orders in like 2-3 days. Will check out this band later tonight. Stanley knows what’s right.

  • Waynecro

    Excellent reviews, Stanley! I really like what I’m hearing from Unbegotten. That’s some beastly shit.

  • sweetooth0

    Will have to check these out when I get home, sounds like some good stuff!

  • Even when this is not my go-to style, Nox sounds good with that bass complimenting the guitar riffing. Good findings and shoots to celebrate my neighbours from Colombia!!!

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    Well, Nox fucking rules so far.

    • Similar cover to this greatness too. Looking forward to checking this stuff out when I get home.

      • Howard Dean

        Goatmoon is fucking awesome. Classic album right there. I’m so excited for the new album (which I believe is coming fairly soon-ish?), as the last album was great (artwork was tight, too).

        • Fuck yes! Same man, I got this one on CD. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find Finnish Steel Storm though. That shit is rare, and expensive! Same goes for Death Before Dishonour

          • Howard Dean

            Yeah, you never see an LP or CD of Finnish Steel Storm going for less than $55-60. Fucking crazy!

          • Yeah, fuck that. I rarely download music illegally but, I had to make an exception for the first two Goatmoon albums. I have Varjot on CD though. That’s a great one! A bit more folky.

          • Howard Dean

            It’s crazy how unavailable the early Goatmoon stuff is, since it’s really not even that old. But like half the releases are banned for sale on discogs (I know Death Before Dishonour is, but Finnish Steel Storm isn’t) and there usually aren’t any copies kicking around on eBay.

          • It really is. Some people are willing to spend the money. I’m not… Hahaha. Discogs has been putting the ban hammer down lately on albums I noticed.

        • That artwork is brutal af. Nice

      • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

        Your undying fervor and enthusiasm for new metal should be commended.

  • Stockhausen

    This stuff sounds like I’d enjoy it. I’ll stream it later where my Soundcloud isn’t blocked.

    • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

      fight the system bruh

  • Señor Jefe El Rosa

    Stan the Man