Demo:listen: Best of 2017

Welcome to Demo:listen. For two years now Demo:listen has brought you a weekly peek into the future of underground extreme metal. Whether they’re death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, -core, heavy, speed, punk-, stoner, etc., we to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen we invite some of our friends to share their favorite demos of 2017, while we count down some demo highlights of the year that—for whatever reason—we never got a chance to feature.

CAVEAT: In an effort to provide as much exposure to as many worthy and deserving bands as possible, the following ten demos selected by Demo:listen serve to highlight only a percentage of the numerous excellent demos which fell between the cracks of our weekly coverage. Thats why you won’t see demos by the likes of Vanvid, Ossuarium, Void Tendril, etc. The ranking has little to no bearing, also. Furthermore, while many of our friends interpreted our standards for what qualifies as a demo somewhat loosely, we strove to include in our own list only those releases which were legitimate debuts from new bands.


10. Spectral Kingdom – I

Spectral Kingdom is gloomy and cinematic dungeon synth. Although SK released two demos this year, we’re still deeply entranced by this first one. Luckily, Demo:listen was able to obtain the equally obscure second tape, too, for when we’re finally ready to depart this first realm of stately castle ruins enshrouded with lachrymose fog and haunted by chivalrous apparitions. Bonus points to Spectral Kingdom for being the side-project of a death metal musician, instead of a black metal dude.


Simon from Les Fleurs du Mal Productions

LFDM Prod is a Canadian label that put out some of the year’s best demos, including both tapes from Olkoth, Cosmic Void Ritual, the Shezmu demo, and a whole lot more. If you haven’t already, definitely add the LFDM site to your page monitor because their tapes are wont to go quickly.

5. Demstervold – Den Svartne Spökerii
4. Runespell – Aeons of Ancient Blood
3. Ultima Thule – Enthralling Lunar Majesty
2. Ravenzang – Ravenzang
1. Pâlemort – Pâlemort


TG from Nihil Verum Nisi Mors

Aside from running NVNM (with the help of J. Aversario), TG plays in myriad bands, several of which have been featured on this very column, e.g. Damnation Lust and Massive Retaliation. Do yourself a favor and get acquainted with everything TG (and J. Aversario) do.

Bone Awl – The Lowest Road

You know exactly what this is—and if you’re anything like me, you’re happy they haven’t changed a bit. The oft-imitated masters return to show us all how it’s done. I eagerly await the new record.

Deathwomb – Demo 2017

This is such a cool tape. Very evil-sounding black/death with well-executed keyboard parts. Their sound draws from old Beherit and Demoncy (particularly the vocals)—lots of cool single-note riffs that sound perfect under all the home-dubbed tape hiss. A quintessential example of a cool evil metal demo.

Eosphoros – Demo MMXVI

Yes, I’m aware it’s technically from 2016, but this demo saw a cassette release via Forest Path Records in 2017 so I’m counting it. Perfectly lo-fi black metal with riffing that hearkens back to the Finnish masters at times. Highly recommended for those who like their black metal to have a powerful vibe.

Lihhamon – Iron Hands of Domination

Black/death in the manner of Revenge and Conqueror seems to be in vogue these days. While many bands in that vein sound derivative, Lihhamon stands out as a particularly vicious execution of the style. My copy of the tape came dyed with what appeared to be coffee, and spattered with what appeared to be blood, if that gives you a better idea.

Witchcraft – Diablerie

I’m a huge fan of the “Beherit triplet” as I call it, and these guys use it a lot. In fact, I would say Witchcraft are probably the truest inheritors of that style around today. Everything about this tape fucking rules, and if you like evil and noisy black metal you need to check it out. These guys are spitefully old school in every way, and I enjoy every minute of it.


9. Shezmu – Demo I

Ravaged by a noisy, perfectly lo-fi production, Shezmu’s demo came out of nowhere and had everything you could want in a band’s demo and more. Martial drums pull these towering death-doom riffs; the vocals sound like a young The Curator; but the best part is definitely those zany synth leads. Demo I was something of a sleeper hit, but copies are unfortunately scarce by now. Fortunately, this will get the vinyl upgrade early next year—with a new song!


Chris from Winterforge Promotions

Chris is the Event Organizer for Winterforge, a Pittsburgh-based promotions company. Chris is the reason Pittsburgh is a tour-stop for so many killer bands in the underground. He’s one of the last surviving real promoters left in the world, e.g. he flyers for his shows with actual, paper flyers. And, as you’ll see presently, he’s also got his finger on the pulse of the deep below.

Hagzissa – Promo 2017

Ritual Mass – Demo

Hag Graef – Miasmic Terror Cult

Solar Temple – Rays of Brilliance

Taphos – Demo 2017


PK of Iron Bonehead Productions

If you don’t know, just go check out IBP’s Bandcamp. It’s a great place to spend an entire weekend . . . or a lifetime. 

in no particular order:

Olkoth (US) – Treasures of Necromancy
Deathwomb (Spain) – Demo 2017
Mutilate (US) – Fortress of Suffering
Starcave (Fin.) – Demo I
Vomit Kult (Swe.) – Demonic Art


8. Blooming Carrions – Sparkling Rotten Dreams

How was Sparkling Rotten Dreams so slept on? The name Blooming Carrions alone deserves hype. It’s a sad world when a demo of authentic Finnish twisted death metal comes out and it’s largely ignored in favor of N. American bands who are aping this very style except with more breakdowns. But hey, we’re just as guilty as everyone else. We listened to this demo all year here in the Demo:listen sepulcher, but never found the chance to cover it. Better late than never . . . Good news is this highly mandatory tape’s available in quite a few distros. Get one before this one man band drops his next opus (in February) and we’re all scrambling to find a copy of the demo.


GH of Expander & Night Rhythm Records 

Greg AKA GH AKA General Ham sings for Expander, Austin’s one and only “neuropunk” outfit, and he’s also the co-owner of the new label, Night Rhythms, who certainly enjoyed an auspicious 2017. This is his list. It would be in your best interest to heed his recommendations.

Hymenotomy – Promo 2017

Technically a promo I guess but isn’t that the same as a demo? Fuck is the difference? Anyway, Hymenotomy are at the top of the slam death game with this brief three track slaughtering. Some of the most brutal riffage while the tastiest PINGing snare jackhammers them into the ground like a railroad spike. Also best song titles EVER.

Drenched – Drenched

The best death/doom demo since Hooded Menace dropped The Eyeless Horde. Pure caveman chugging, nothing gets my blood pumpin’ like a mid-paced crypt riff on top of an undead bone-beat.

Void Terror – Soul Harvest

OSDM demo of the year. Grab your walkman, get drunk, find a cemetery and desecrate some graves. This shit is STINKY.

Moenen of Xezbeth – Dawn of Morbid Sorcery

This one took me a little bit to get into but once I did it’s paid off. Simplistic, ritualistic and purely evil old school black metal worship. Drugs definitely help.

Smut – Smut

Punk as fuck, catchy as hell. These guys appear to be the real deal.


Thomas from Redefining Darkness Records & Seeing Red Records

Thomas is the busiest man alive. Despite running two record labels (one of whom put out Owlcrusher’s debut, which very well might be the heaviest record of the year), he still found time to hit us with this awesome list.

Qayin Regis – Blackthorn EP

Black Metal from Spain steeped in ancient occultism. The eerie melodies that weave in and out of this blackened onslaught will make you feel witness to some unholy ceremonial ritual.

Deus Vermin – MMXVII

Blackened Death from Leeds, UK, that follows the path set forth by VRTRA and Deathspell Omega. While not as experimental as the latter, you will find that Deus Vermin create some discomforting and sinister passages within. A band to watch for sure!

The Initiation – S/T

Frightening and furious, The Initiation are straight out of the Golden Era of Black Metal’s Second Wave. Hailing from Saint Petersburg, Russia, this is a release trve BM fans cannot miss! Brings me back to an exciting time when I first discovered the genre in the mid 90’s.

Ossuarium – Calcified Trophies of Violence

Another killer act from the Pacific Northwest, which has been a hotbed for killer bands in most recent years. This is Death Metal from the deepest depths of depravity, and reminds me of a time when Death Metal was exciting – for fans of Goreaphobia and Morpheus Descends…

Ulkum – First Prophecy

I guess technically at around 35 mins, this could be considered a debut LP, but since it was self-released digitally this past October and due to the fact it’s really good, we’ll let it slide. This is DOOM  like I haven’t heard in a LONG time… at least not executed this well and genuine sounding. Rather than the DOOM that has become popular as of late, this is very much derived from the Death Metal influenced DOOM perfected by 90’s pioneers My Dying Bride, Anathema, and Paradise Lost. There are moments that I swear I am listening to Symphonaire Infernus et Spera Empyrium, Cathedral’s In Memorium, or Anathema’s Crestfallen. Check it out for yourself, and I promise you’ll be transported back to a magical time where everything was recorded analog and tracked live. Be on the lookout for a special release of First Prophecy on Redefining Darkness Records…


7. Pâlemort – Pâlemort

Fifteen minutes of thick, abrasive black metal from Quebec that sounds nothing like what you expect black metal bands from Quebec to sound like. This is some 2nd wave grimness, but mangled and livid, like a Transilvanian Hunger-era Darkthrone song scraped off the sole of your Blundstones. And how about those synths? They serve to remind you that even the most hateful black metal still has room for some shimmering majesty. In a scene where you literally have to stay up all night to procure some black metal demos, it’s an evil miracle that a tape as good and as raw as this one is still available from several distros.


Rachel from Graven Earth Records

Graven Earth is a relatively new American tape label that really got our attention when they released that killer Nightfear demo. We asked Rachel, the label owner, about her favorite demos of the year and she hit us with this awesome Top 5.

5. Adzalaan – VT-XVI

4. Cavurn – Rehearsal

3. Ossuarium – Calcified Trophies Of Victory

2. Excurse – Veiled

1. Solar Temple – Rays of Brilliance


Leather Intruder of Sekkusu

Sekkusu are a Japanese hardcore-inspired thrash band from Detroit. Their bassist/vocalist Leather Intruder is not only an asset to the underground metal scene, he’s also a fellow demophile.

5. Squalid – Demo 2017: Real goregrind to fend off all of the fakery eeking out of today’s false grind scene. Knuckle draggers only

4. Nauseator – The Absolute Madman: Fun punk-infused death metal that’s really reminiscent of the classic Mid-West sound and golden era Razorback roster

3. Funeral Chant – Funeral Chant: Occult black metal laced with stunning guitar work and eerie atmosphere.  Dark, thrashing madness.

2. Vile Apparition – Hideous Captivity: Belligerent death metal that doesn’t skimp on the brutality. Violent, hectic and uncompromising.

1. Fetid – Sentient Pile of Amorphous Rot: Mandatory slab of truly twisted tracks that tease your lust for gore and splatter with 12-ton riffs.


6. Black Necrosis – Holy Rotting Flesh

Demo:listen wanted desperately to cover this band, but Black Necrosis refused us the privilege, citing something about having not quite figured out their sound yet. Sounds pretty figured out to these albeit damaged ears. Why it’s filth, pure and simple. Short bursts of evil rage filled with goonish growls and unsettling panting noises. Now, if you think you recognize those two corpsepainted perverts on the cover, you’re not just imagining things. Black Necrosis is most definitely a “side-project” of another band whose necro practices are currently taking the underground by storm. Darkness Attack will soon reissue this twelve track, fifteen minute tape of ugly black grind.


Jason from Our Ancient Future Records

Our Ancient Future is another new label that’s been making some waves underground. Jason would also like you to know that Our Ancient Future is currently accepting demo submissions. Jason runs a label way better than he counts to 5. ; )

Lavizan Jangel – KVLT

Noise, violence and terror in the veins of Deiphago.  Supposedly from Tehran, Iran.

Funeral Chant – Funeral Chant

Low-fi, cacophonous black metal from Oakland, CA.  Looking forward to something new in 2018.

Repugnizer – Face Melting Apocalypse

Old school 80’s deathgrind.  This deserved a lot more visibility than it got.

Virulent Specter – You Will Succumb to the Hate You Possess and Your Failures Will Destroy You…

Muddy, cave-like black metal with vocals from what has to be an alien being.  

Ultra Silvam – Ultra Silvam

This is just fantastic rotten Swedish black metal.

Taphos Nomos – Mortales delendi sunt

A 3-song cassette available on tour, demoing some songs from the full length to be released in 2018.  One of my favorite death metal bands in the US right now.  

Bone Awl – The Lowest Road

Bone Awl are one of my most favorite bands.  This cassette was not expected, but they released a “preview” of songs from an upcoming LP when they played a set at the Hospital Productions 20 Year show.  Sure, this was recorded a few years ago, but I’ll take anything from Bone Awl and psyched to know they are back at it again.


Dani from GoatowaRex

GoatowaRex should need no introduction. Suffice to say, GoatowaRex is behind some of the best demo reissues out there. Dani knows a great demo when he hears one. And, best of all, a lot of times he reissues those demos on vinyl.

[lightly edited at Dani’s request.]

Orodruin – Unburying an Ancient Evil  

The Shadow Kingdom bands have blitzkrieged the black metal underground with great swiftness over the past 2 years, quickly gaining momentum, with one release after another. Well, this demo shows that their success is not groundless, but a natural breakthrough of more than a decade of hard work. Orodruin is an old project of one of the two masterminds behind TSK. Along with Akitsa Orodruin are the only band that uphold the crude tradition of Ildjarn in early ‘00s. This new demo is the first solo release since 2001, slightly more refined than the early demo style, but still a piece of unhinged evil black necro metal.

TombBlack Crucifixion

Yes I know, extremely unoriginal name, or maybe it’s their intention as every appearance of the tape looks like it could be released in the late ‘80s in South East Asia. I bet my friend Vasp Necrogoat of the infamous NECROMANSY webzine would like this demo very much. Archaic black death metal from the era when people GENUINELY believe Sodom is BLACK METAL. This short tape breezes both the cold wind of hell AND warmth of the Penang Coconut tree. Only complaint: the sound is too polished (no, I’m fine with the drum machine).

Witchmoon – Vampyric Curse

I normally wouldn’t like this type of over-limited demo, hint: this particularly tape is limited to 33 copies, however Witchmoon’s debut demo attracted me for they took the word ‘obscure’ to a new extreme. Like a 10th generation dub of super stripped-down early Havohej, you have to turn the volume up to exceptionally loud to hear what is going on there. Very minimal, repetitive and addictive.

Kulttimaa – Tornimaista Mustaan

My most exciting and refreshing new finding in 2017, my most listened to tape in 2017, the best selling tape that I sold through my small label in 2017. This is not a metal release, Kuttimaa play self-styled vampyric folk music, or I would rather label them as vampyric synth pop. This tape is Tornimailla demo plus three tracks, range from early CMI style of ambient (think Penitent), Nordic Folk, Martial pop to some Dungeon Synth. They created a strange formula to conjure all those elements into an strangely narrated, uniquely fantastical, phantasmagorical tales.

Forgotten Spell – The Necromancer

I call this release a demo with some reluctance. 4 tracks in over 30 minutes, perfectly executed songs of lengthy (but not repetitive at all) raw black metal. Epic riffages, powerful production, trademark song writing style, this is a better release than 99% of the ‘albums’ released by bands these days. A great follow-up to Epiphaneia Phosphorus (Angel, God Or Insanity), yet a very low key release that’s in line with Angra Malakh’s growing hermitage inclination.


5. Girtablullû – Exorcism in Moonlight

From Malum Arcana, that Canadian black metal recluse behind Bašmu and Flešš, comes Girtablullû. A lot of black metal claims to be inspired by the occult and by black magic, but this demo actually sounds like a hex is being cast upon the listener. It’s next to impossible to get copies of anything Malum Arcana puts out, which is a shame because a demo like Exorcism in Moonlight is most effective when listened to on its intended format. Here’s hoping their popularity grows just a little so that their demos become a little easier to acquire. Then again . . . nah. Keep it ultra limited!


Kim Kelly, metal editor at Noisey

Kim Kelly is the queen of discovering obscure treasures, which is exactly why Demo:listen requested her participation for this final installment of the year 2017. As you’ll see, Kim did not disappoint!

Blackrat – Demo 2017

These dependably gnarly Canadians are still sworn to the dark, but have gotten in touch with their inner Bela Lugosi and added a little gothic flair to their witching metal punkery.

Long Con – Demo

Anti-capitalist powerviolence on a crusty grinding death trip – what’s not to love?

Ails – Dead Metaphors

From the ashes of Ludicra, Ails takes flight with dashes of melancholy melodic death metal, stately doom, and atmospheric black metal (keep an ear out for the guitar work in particular).

Amutseba – Demo

Truly unsettling, panicked Parisian black/death of the suffocating, chaotic variety.

Épitaphe – Demo MMXVII

Lo-fi death doom whose miserable mien is augmented by some truly excellent gurgling.


BW of Draghkar & Grave Spirit

BW plays for Draghkar (who were featured back in May, which is why you won’t find their awesome demo on our list, as we’ve already covered it). He also has a new black metal band called Grave Spirit, whose 7” just came out on Iron Bonehead.

5. Ossuarium – Calcified Trophies of Violence: An ignorant slab of punishing caveman death metal. Deep growls and thick drums fill out the package, and offsetting the violence are gorgeous, reverb’d out solos.

4. Heavy Sentence – Protector/Darkest Hour: These Brits have convincingly made a debut 7” that sounds like it came from a group of  Motörhead-loving teenagers from 1981 rather than from seasoned musicians in 2017. Dual leads battle with punked-out drums and simple, direct rhythms to make a package that sounds as authentic as it does killer . . .

3. Ensepulcher – No Sanctity In Death: A lot of modern throwbacks to the original Swedish scene fail to persuade me that said throwbacks have listened to any of the bands that influenced that scene, and as such sound derivative instead of killer. Ensepulcher, on the other hand, have a clear love of the crust scene that preceded Entombed and their ilk, and their aggressive-as-fuck music reflects that.

2. Cavurn – Rehearsal: Cavurn decimate the world with this first rehearsal, trading massive volcanic power chords for faster tremolo picked rhythms fluently and effectively. Low growls alternate with reverb-laden shrieks in a very organic and satisfying way, and excellent songwriting keeps it from falling into a single boring moment.

1. Chevalier – A Call To Arms: These Finns worship killer guitarwork in a way that almost defies belief. A constant worship of old French speed metal (hence the name) and USPM manifests here as a barrage of nonstop leads and solos that entrance as much as they do slay, and a complete lack of distractions such as catchy choruses or shiny production allow the material to shine in a way that’s both charming and captivating. Chevalier worship at the altar of the true spirit of heavy and speed metal, and it really shows on this incredible debut.


4. Demstervold – Den Svartne Spökerii

Den Svartne Spökerii came out on Black Abyss Productions at the same time as new demos from Vaal and Orodruin (NL), and between two other (deservedly) hyped demos also put out by the Dutch entity behind Black Abyss Production, though not necessarily on Black Abyss. It’s all very complicated. Suffice to say, Demstervold is their most aggressive band going right now. We like Den Svartne Spökerii because it feels honest, and it sounds like the ghost of Wroth. You likely missed out on this tape, as well as most of the other demos Black Abyss put out over the past year. But take it from your pals here at Demo:listen, this is the one you need to bump to the top of your want list.


Hasan A. from Ripping Headaches Promotions

Talk about assets to the extreme metal underground, if every city had a guy like Hasan touring in metal and punk bands could be a legitimate career choice. Not only that, but Hasan is Demo:listen’s go-to-guy when we’re looking for sick new bands to cover.

In no particular order…

Future Terror – We’re All Fucked

Fetid – Sentient Pile of Amorphous Rot

Mortiferum – Altar of Decay

Witchtrial – Demo 2017

Tomb Mold – “Cryptic Transmissions

Honorable Mentions: Perpetuated – Cursed Earth Demo; Ossuarium – Calcified Trophies of Violence; Cankro – Demo 2017; Neverending Mind War – Demo ISyringe – Fake Freedom/Surging


Outre-Tombe of Tour de Garde

No introduction should be necessary here. Just go check your tape collection. Tour de Garde have been putting out incredible demos for over 15 years now.

5. Sanctuaire – Feu Sacré

4. Orodruin  – Unburying An Ancient Evil

3. Moenen Of Xezbeth – Dawn Of Morbid Sorcery

2. Brånd – März – April 2017

1. Rivière du Nord – La grande tempête


3. Starcave – Demo I

Starcave is rumored to be the work of LSA from Cosmic Church and Rauta from Kêres, Circle of Ouroborus, Elemental, etc. Doesn’t actually matter who’s behind Starcave. This demo is absolute perfection. Do anything you can to get yourself a copy. Stop at nothing until the Starcave demo is in your possession.


Lam from House of First Light

Besides running one of the sickest tape labels in the American black metal underground, Lam also plays in several incredible bands, which have all released highly sought-after demos. Whether you know him from Sanguine Eagle, Hand Of Glory, Winds of Gladsheimr, or another one of his many bands, if you’re aware of Lam’s work, you know you can trust his taste. If you’re not aware, we suggest opening some new tabs and getting acquainted with his Vision of Supremacy . . .

5. Ultima Thule – Enthralling Lunar Majesty

4. Starcave – Demo I

3. Ravenzang – Ravenzang

2. Ventos – A Sombra Da Noite

1. Ravendark – Рождением Смерть Предвкушая (reissue)


2. Rope Sect – Personae Ingratae

A perfect soundtrack for the surreal year that 2017 turned out to be. No one could’ve predicted the arrival of Personae Ingratae, but for all who heard it, there was no question that it was going to garner a lot of attention. And for good reason. This isn’t metal at all, but it’s made by metal dudes and it is fantastic. Dour but catchy and gothic death-pop, or something. Who knows how to classify this? Just jam it!


Graceless Recordings

Because Mike and Jake from Graceless Recordings have put out some of our favorite demos of all time (e.g. Chthe’ilist, Weightlessness, Ēōs, and Mortiferum) they can submit their list of top demos as late as they want. Additionally, Horizonless, the latest Loss album, is absolutely the most awe-inspiring album released in 2017. In fact, we’re still unpacking the many layers and nuances of that one. So, here are 5 demos that Mike and Jake found themselves listening to more than any others.

Triumph, Genus ‎– Hladiny Plynoucích, Žádný Zítřek Není Do Vás Mým Tokem Promítnut

Forgotten Spell ‎– The Necromancer

Bone Awl ‎– The Lowest Road

Valhalla Bound ‎– Hail The Warrior

Gjendød ‎– En Ny Vår For Hat


K. Ravko from The Throat

The Throat is unstoppable. K. is unstoppable. We’re privileged to host his opinions on these matters.

2017 was a weird year when it comes to demo releases; many projects that delivered interesting demos in 2015 and 2016 are now fully focused on releasing full-length records, so the choice was fairly slim; the quality of 2017 was for that reason very high.

My top 5 for 2017 is in random order; all have something different to bring to the table and sorting them in any order seems like an impossible task.

Slakkengang – Demo I

This release was actually recorded some years prior during 2012, but never saw a proper release; Levertraan, a small cassette label from The Netherlands, changed that by issueing Slakkengang’s debut demo on cassette this year. A barrage of emotions in the form of a beautifully crafted combination of lo-fi Screamo and Black Metal. The band split-up during late 2016. Or more specifically; the drummer decided to continue the project on his own, replacing the vocalist/guitarist by utilising noise oscillators and loopers. The vocalist/guitarist was in my opinion the heart and soul of this project and without him there should be no Slakkengang.

Trono Além Morte – Revelações nas Chamas

One of the projects that operate under the Aldebaran Circle from Portugal. I could create an entire list made up of projects from this particular Portuguese Black Metal movement, but I had to pick this one specifically. My cassette could use a re-dub as the sound has some of the worst tape wash I have ever heard, but the release can be streamed (unofficially?), so it has passed by quite a couple of times already. All three releases this project put out this year are incredible. Psychotic Black Metal for the rotten.

Ashen Chalice – Spells of Eternal Sleep Guide Us Towards the Casket

One of the tapes I listened to the most this year. Adding this to the list might be considered cheating as The Throat issued this demo on cassette, but I don’t really care. It’s too good to be left off of this list. Classic Black Noise and Raw Black Metal synthesized in utmost perfection. I catch myself putting this tape on while writing about it. Enveloping contempt and maniacal rage followed by an overwhelming blackness. A new release by this Croatian entity will be released on cassette during January 2018.

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal – Stop Torturing Me

Emotional Trap spearheaded by Gothboiclique (GBC) leader Adam McIlwee, a genre that got quite some mainstream attention because of the outputs of GBC member Lil Peep, who unfortunately passed away in November 2017. This type of music is fairly hard to describe to people that have never heard it; Hip-hop beats combined with saddening melodies. A vocal style that is more akin to Indie Rock or even New Wave at times, (the person behind this project was previously active in the well-known Indie Rock / Emo / Pop Punk outfit Tigers Jaw, who continued without him and delivered one of my favourite records of this year) abstract lyrics (not so much so for other artists in this genre) that are incredibly disheartening. A perfect follow up to the 2016 full-length “Secret Boy”.

Vrkolak – Legion of Spectral Night

Utterly destroyed Black Metal. Project belonging to an unnamed circle that operates within the current Bosnian Black Metal movement. No other words necessary.

Special mentions that didn’t make this top 5 list for various reasons, but should be heard because they are worth it:

Witchmoon – Vampyric Curse (Black Metal from the Lampshade Tapes label. Haunting music for crypt dwellers.) ; Nekrodrone – Demo V (Finally unearthed in 2017, a tad more “playful” than previous efforts, but those that know this project will enjoy it a lot.) ; Obsidian Forest – …Corrupted… (Just utter bleakness.) ; Degredo – A Noite Deus A Temeu (Connected to the Aldebaran Circle. Black Metal for nightly rituals.) ; Occelensbrigg – Old Winters Yet to Come (Aldebaran Circle Black Metal. I need to hear more of this project. 2018 might be their year.) ; Llahtarë – Pure Evil (Title says it all.) ; Rubedo Nocturno – O Grande Pai: Abismo Incriado (Black mental Metal under the Black Gangrene banner.) ; Vrasësinerëzve – Musickorum Tremorae (To quote: “This tape is about extreme and disturbed ambient noises. Proceed with caution, you have been warned.”) ; Toorvond – Demo (Fast and melodic, but also incredibly Raw. Heavily inspired by Dutch masterminds like Cultus and Mordaehoth. Released by the young Dutch cassette label Consistentis Veritatis Peremptoria.) ; Mors Prometheus – Zelfverwaarlozing (Interesting first output by this young project done by members of the new Dutch cassette label Torentrans. Possessed and possessive.) ; Corbin – Mourn (Probably more a full-length than a demonstrative effort. Previously active under the name Spooky Black. Contemporary R&B, Emotional Trap and New Wave. A masterpiece.) ; Huitzilopochtli – Demo I (Also released by The Throat. Brings me back to the good old Bone Awl demo days.)

1. Funeral Altar

Everything Funeral Altar put out this year is poisonous black gold. While their new stuff is already extinct, the early demos somehow remain available from TdG. The habits of nowadays metal consumers makes less sense every day, but here is a band absolutely worthy of its hype. Barbed and infected riffs ad nauseum and—save for the intro on the self-titled full length [embedded above]—over the course of seven releases, Funeral Altar does not once relent. 


That’s a wrap on 2017. Thanks to all of the bands who released killer demos this year that let us interview them. Thanks to all of our friends for sharing with us their favorite demos of the year. And thank you for checking in every Friday. Happy New Year! See you next year/week!