Through a Speaker Rumbly: Impenitent Thief

Tips for Surviving the Joys of Spring

Stay inside and jam these tapes--unless you’ve got a battery-powered boombox, in which case you should find a cool abandoned building or some desolate and legitimately sketchy pedestrian tunnel and hang out in there and jam them. Mausoleums are acceptable, too. Anywhere the light is not.

Impenitent Thief's EP 2014

Gleaned from the rending of Witch Tomb, Boston’s Impenitent Thief play ugly, grinding black metal that leaves no poser unharmed. Their debut EP 2014 was first distributed on CD-Rs by the thieves themselves last October. But thanks to No Visible Scars for giving it the analog treatment back in February, many metalheads are already heralding EP 2014 as the crème de la grime. Loss's Mike Meacham recently called the demo "seriously the best thing that has come out this year." We’re barely over a quarter of the way through the year, but you, too, will come to understand that Impenitent Thief’s demo doesn’t just wail on you, it leaves a mark. A black bruise indicative of a deep subcutaneous hemorrhaging. Sounds awesome, right? But, at the risk of sounding cliche, Impenitent Thief are not for the casual metal listener. Let’s be clear on that. These guys are not the gateway to the underground. If anything they’re the camo-clad gargoyles who defend that portal to the deep, dark beneath. If you’re still on board, I suggest jamming it a few times in a row, like you would a grindcore album. Just let it pour over you like the molten black metal that it is.

Ithaqua's Initiation to Obscure Mysteries

Sometimes you just have to pay homage to your forefathers. Lucky for us, Ithaqua’s forefathers are Rotting Christ, Varathron and Thou Art Lord. And when you hear this Athenian duo’s demo, Initiation to Obscure Mysteries, you’ll swear it’s a lost relic from early ‘90s Hellas. In fact, my friend and often-referenced colleague, Mr. Körber, was all but ready to fight me when I played this tape for him. It seemed he feared, all at once, that he had missed out on some rare Rotting Christ or Varathron demo material; that not only had he missed out on this material, but that I--his close friend--had found this rarity first and was taunting him with it by parading it as a new demo from a new band. Yes, Mr. Körber was blown away by Ithaqua's authenticity, but Ithaqua aren’t only ripping off their forefathers, foreuncles, or foreolder cousins from the early 90s. No, not completely. There’s a bit of late 80s Celtic Frost in there, too. Not to mention that primitive drum machine which borders on motorik repetition at points. All part of the ceremony, my friends. Trust Ithaqua, theirs is a rite worth undergoing.

Abjvration's The Unquenchable Pyre

Abjvration are French, but not French like you’re probably expecting. Rather than churning out more black metal for the pasty alliance, this Parisian trio plays American-style death doom. Indeed, Abjvration owe much to Incantation, but don’t think for one second that they’re just another clone band pedantically copying that OSDM style. Au contraire, what separates Abjvration from other modern DM bands with a boner for the arcane is their ability to conjure a twisted, perversely epic melody from that foetid genre. Because Abjuvration’s debut isn’t a grave, or a sepulcher, or some towering and baroque shrine to the afterlife. It is The Unquenchable Pyre: mesmerizing flames lick the heavens while slowly consuming all in its path. Five tracks in just under thirty minutes, but you’ll swear barely a moment has passed, because the whole time you’ve been transfixed by the fire. The riffs are the wind that breathe life into this conflagration; the drums crash like ancient structures finally collapsing into charred ruination. You will hear this tape, eventually, as it is currently devouring the underground, but why wait for eventuality to roll around? C’mon . . . Jump on the pyre!

Crypt Vapor's Erotik Maniac

Here’s a little something for those of you who saw It Follows and were like: “Well, at least the soundtrack was killer.” But know this: Crypt Vapor are not a metal band. For all we know, Crypt Vapor may be alien transmissions captured or purloined, then remixed over some aphrodisiac beats and put to tape by Will Fried, owner of Heavy Chains Records. Or Crypt Vapor could be just some regular Australian citizen who loves Goblin and John Carpenter. Regardless of its origins, Erotik Maniac is one of the best debuts you’ll have heard in a long time. If you want a visual: picture Hliðskjálf-era Varg escaping prison, doing E, then DJing a teenage dance party where no one’s dancing except some really tall, super skinny dude in a baggy black hoodie who seems to emit both a cold presence and a rank stench, and yet you feel strangely drawn to him, to dance with him. If you’re not hooked and vibing hard by the time that beat drops at 1:50 in the first song “Theme from Ritual,” then, I'm sorry to say my friend, but you've got too much of a pulse.

The availability of these tapes is dubious at best, but lucky for you: they're all available for download. For those of you keen on physical manifestations: happy hunting.

Until next time, keep it dark, keep it rumbly, and never, ever rewind.

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