Saturday, March 7, 2015

Transylvanian Tapes: Swamp Witch, Cease, and Cloak

By Justin C. Half a year ago, right here on Metal Bandcamp, I wrote about a bunch of first-rate releases from Oakland, California-based label Transylvanian Tapes. Included in that post was mention of Agglomeration XXIV
By Craig Hayes.

Half a year ago, right here on Metal Bandcamp, I wrote about a bunch of first-rate releases from Oakland, California-based label Transylvanian Tapes. Included in that post was mention of Agglomeration XXIV, the latest bile, doom, and cough-syrup crust release from Oakland miscreants Bädr Vogu. I mention Bädr Vogu again, because the band’s misanthropic punk/metal racket is well worth tracking down. But also because that same punk attitude combined with underground metal’s noxious noise is right there on recent Transylvanian Tapes releases from Cloak and Cease, and it's definitely there on Swamp Witch’s latest ten tonne mind-fuck, The Slithering Bog.


The Slithering Bog follows on from Swamp Witch’s grimy and grim debut Gnosis, which was a similarly downtuned trawl through tripped-out and tar-thick sludge. Like Gnosis, The Slithering Bog also has a heavyweight crust of distortion surrounding its subterranean sound. And there are plenty of deep ‘n’ dark chasms of amp-melting, psychedelic doom to get lost in on The Slithering Bog as well. Best of all, The Slithering Bog has a filthy psychoactive aura throughout––one heavy on the negativity and nastiness––and that has a lot to do with Swamp Witch laying out their tunes in an ultra-heavy, slow-motion fashion. It’s all deliberate. Menacing. And like sonic kin such as Noothgrush, Indian or Grief, the result is gruelling, festering, and ultimately, wretched. No surprise then that The Slithering Bog is highly recommended.



Artwork by Joey Camello

Humanity, the 2014 Transylvanian Tapes debut from metallic hardcore band Cease, is also hulking, heavy, and smothered in distortion and dirt. However, Humanity’s contents are delivered at a far brisker pace, and are indebted to Entombed’s buzzsaw approach. Humanity duly features brute blasts of hardcore-injected and HM-2 hammering punk and (death) metal. So, if you’re a fan of the punk/metal bludgeon of Nails, Black Breath, or similar crossover roughnecks, you’re guaranteed to appreciate Cease’s modus operandi, and the depths of their viciousness. Also, Cease have followed up Humanity with a bulldozing self-titled demo released in January this year. Get ‘em both. Now.



Artwork by James Hammontree

Where Cease and Swamp Witch bring a bruising wall of noise, Bay Area punks Cloak deal in spiky shards of sound on their debut, Succumb. There’s a lot of old-guard worship to be found on Succumb, with Cloak digging into the roots of black and death metal on songs that rumble in parts, and slice coldly (although definitely not cleanly) in others. Succumb is lo-fi, Deathcrush lo-fi, and it features similarly blown-out vocals and tracks that are brittle and jagged with sawtooth edges in equal measure. Atmospheric melodies add to all the villainy, and with four songs delivered in 20-minutes, there’s more than enough bleeding-raw basement black metal on Succumb to get under your skin and perk your interest in hearing even more.


Tagged with 2014, 2015, black metal, Cease, Cloak, Craig Hayes, doom metal, free download, hardcore, sludge metal, Swamp Witch, Transylvanian Tapes
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