Your Black Metal Album Has ZERO Bandcamp Downloads
Zero bandcamp downloads: The kiss of death or the mark of ultimate trveness?
At some point in the heat-fucked haze which passes for my memory of last month, I received a most curious message in my email inbox. It came from an entity of unknown nationality or gender calling itself Witchslit Desiccator. Apparently Ol’ W.D. is the sole member of a new and most kvlt bedroom black metal project called Agæthovehëmenþeiglxçz. W.D. began its message to me with a yawning abyss of text extolling the virtues of the DIY black metal underground and ensuring me that its debut demo recording, entitled Necroviolating the Azagphobic Sapiescence, had achieved the absolute nadir of raw black metal underground DIY-ness. I’ll spare you the full brunt of the text’s macabre verbosity; here is a brief(er) synopsis:
In the primordial days of Agæthovehëmenþeiglxçz’s existence (winter 2016), Witchslit set out to record a demo by placing a handheld voice-recorder outside in the snow, then running inside to its bedroom to improvise a single twenty-six minute performance. This painstaking process was repeated for each instrumental take: guitar, vokills and drums (bass, snare and splash cymbal). The sounds of each performance would drift through Desiccator’s open window, through the frostbitten night, down to the recorder; harsh environmental conditions and flamboyant technical ineptitude rendered the results indistinguishable from field recordings of a Norwegian winter gale. W.D. emphasizes via italics that “Even the most astute forensic recording analyst would be cuntwhacked to tell the difference.” And then goes on to praise the penultimate combination of these most grim improvisational incantations—which can only be achieved by playing each tape simultaneously on three separate voice recorders—as “the apotheosis of bestial anti-natalist flatulence from the desanctified anus of the Virgin Mother’s rotting corpse”.
Upon learning that several hundred other underground black metal bands around the globe had already released demos recorded on handheld voice-recorders, Witchslit felt demoralized and vowed never to record using any “bullshit mainstream conformist medium” again. It apparently set out to transcribe Necroviolating the Azagphobic Sapiescence to the most obscure, lo-fi, anti-commercial medium ever devised, which consisted of etchings made on a disk of ancient oak with a knife that had been heated over a black candle’s flame. W.D. gives no clear indication of what manner of device could actually play these wood etchings; from the best of my ability to decipher its manic gibberish, one would somehow have to learn to “hear” the music by repeatedly running one’s finger over the etchings in the correct order, similar in effect to the way one reads braille. Witchslit only ever produced one such disk etching, which it tossed into a forest creek that was rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of women who’d drowned during tests designed to convict them of witchcraft.
One expects the story of Necroviolating the Azagphobic Sapiescence to end there: in the most nihilistic oblivion ever achieved by any recording artist. But it does not end there. By the grace of the One True Master, Witchslit Desiccator found its first sexual partner, and this sexual partner, like a snake whispering into W.D.’s ear, convinced it to give conventional recording another try. With the utmost reluctance, Witchslit reproduced Necroviolating the Azagphobic Sapiescence from memory, this time recording the magnum opus on 4-track, converting it to digital with a lossy algorithm, and uploading it to bandcamp. And there the album sat for six months, undownloaded, unpirated, collecting digital dust. With no label support, no social media presence, no promotional exposure in even the most unhallowed corners of internet metalhead anti-culture, Necroviolating the Azagphobic Sapiescence sustained an impressive zero (0) bandcamp downloads, and the name Agæthovehëmenþeiglxçz languished in righteous obscurity.
For a time Ol’ Witchslit was maliciously pleased with the results, considering it a resounding success, as if this utter lack of recognition were the final step toward the pure self-actualization of the nothingness smoldering in the core of W.D’s black heart. But W.D. was human, and no human will ever be spared some portion of doubt. Doubt gives rise to questions, quandaries, philosophical schisms. At this point Witchslit Desiccator had to ask itself: If a black metal demo is uploaded to bandcamp and no one is there to download it, does it make a sound?
At the time of W.D.’s message to me, no one other than W.D. or W.D.’s sexual partner had yet viewed Agæthovehëmenþeiglxçz’s bandcamp page, much less listened to a single second of Necroviolating the Azagphobic Sapiescence. After admitting this, W.D. finally came around to the point: It wanted me to write about the demo—not in hope that someone might finally download it, but in hope that someone might at least view the bandcamp page and be impressed by the inarguable trve kvltness of a black metal album so trve and so kvlt that no one had dared to listen to it.
Of course, I was not Witchslit’s first choice of writer. In fact, I was its last. It had already sent entreaties out to every known niche metal blog or chatroom or message board—and received no answer. “I do not wish to validate, much less recognize, your false taste in whatever it is that you erroneously presume to be black metal,” wrote Witchslit, “and I’ll have you know that I basically consider you a cuntwhacked hipster shill for the Zionist agenda…” (Ouch, right?) “But,” it added, “as much as it pains me to no end to type this, you are my last hope.”
Invigorated by Witchslit’s spot-on assessment of my tastes and writerly prowess, I endeavored to do exactly what it had asked. The problem being that by the time I got around to doing it, the link to Agæthovehëmenþeiglxçz’s bandcamp page, www.agæthovehëmenþeiglxçzgoat666.bandcamp.com, was already dead. I received no answers to my inquiries, and no further communication from my good friend Witchslit Desiccator. Which leads me to believe that it either killed itself, found religion, or finally transcended puberty. (Maybe all three in reverse order?)
Whatever the case, I write this now in order to keep this tragic fate from destroying any of the innumerable other underground DIY black metal bands whose bandcamp download count is currently hovering at zero. Don’t let this happen to you or to anyone you love. If you ever come across a black metal demo on bandcamp that has zero downloads, please, I’m begging you, for the sake of the institution of black metal and in honor of the memory of our dearly departed Agæthovehëmenþeiglxçz, smash that motherfucking “buy now” button and name your motherfucking price. Only YOU can prevent underground DIY black metal bands from succumbing to obscurity.
Below, I’ve provided some samples and links to underground DIY black metal albums that are in desperate need of your compassion. As of the publishing of this article, none have attracted a single purchase. You’ll notice that despite all I’ve written here, I have not taken my own advice and downloaded any of them. Why not? Because I’ve already done my part. I cannot be expected to save them all.
The Trve Witch — Noc Czarownicy
Ravendark — Sagas of the North
Misantropía XYY — La Llamada de la Misantropía