Cassette Assault – Absolute Filth

Here we are again, ye keepers of the guns and ammo, ye corrupt blasphemers of the digital era.  Load up, get your bandoliers, get your helicopters, get your grenades, and prepare to blow the speakers of that nice old Sony two-deck you got from Goodwill as you continue to deny the world you believe in the future of technology.  Put on your shades, lay back, and hear the crackle of some tapes.  This time we have primarily a focus of metal-oriented material, all encrusted with layers and layers of vomit.  They were recorded in vomit, they were duplicated in vomit, and if you can’t stand the stench of their bile, you, friend, shall cover yourself in vomit.

Phantasmal – The Reaper’s Forge

Awwwww maaan, really wanted to have this one displayed on the shelf, but unfortunately that space’s only reserved for music that truly tears.  Instead of tearing, this one will milk tears from your eyes.  It forces you to change vowel pronunciation for an entirely different word.  Tears to tears, no coming back.  The Reaper’s Forge starts with solid grindage, good drive, and even tosses some solos your way as you tilt your beer to it in thanks.  Lacking somewhat in bass, this is all permissible, until, however, the vocals begin.  We’ve said it many times before, but it never gets old, vocals can lead or drag an entire album.  So, sorry, but when we see a Goddamned grim reaper pounding out his scythe on an anvil in Hell we kind of expect perfection in shrieking, but instead we’re given preschool at snack time minus the snacks, and you know what that means, the kids get angry, so angry they scream but, well, they’re kids.  We assume it’s not an actual child at the helm of the mic, it just sounds like it.  The youthfulness of his tone nearly cracks when attempts are made to dig into the gut for that true thrash bliss, and it ends up in the land of frivolity instead of fiery blackness.  Listen, when we see a reaper, we expect a reaper, not a sleeper.  Please don’t make us pull out rhymes again.  Phantasmal Official Facebook  Score: 3 / 5

Sutekh Hexen – Become

Well, this one completely cleanses the palate, probably even scrapes all the skin off the roof of one’s mouth.  Sutekh Hexen toss out a number of genres on their Facebook page, but really one word in the list gets it right, cacophony.  If you’ve never experienced the cacophonic, here it be.  Though we’re listening to his on plastic from Sentient Ruin, it was actually released on several formats including CD by Cold Spring, LP by King of the Monsters, and true obscurity via freaking reel on Auris Apothecary.  What that means is you expect the best of the best in gloom, seeing as others felt the need to release it in so many ways, and Become is every essence of gloom.  It’s covered in a thick shroud of noise with churning bass tones in the distance, wailing, overly-distorted gasping, and surges in atmospheric sounds of unknown origin.  They all, though, have this cathedral-like quality, but thankfully never sound entirely like an organ, think of it more as droning flutters of dying souls.  Sutekh Hexen are temple builders, and within their place of worship you find soul-ripping terror.  It would have been quite a pleasure to listen to this on reel, just to watch the tape move from one side to the other in candlelight, man and machine as one through sonic extirpation.  Sutekh Hexen Official Facebook  Score: 4.5 / 5

Thrones of Deceit – Crayola House Demo 2011

Though this is technically older material, it’s apparently a relatively new release of songs they’ve been playing around awhile.  And, hear this, they can keep playing them.  Coming from Harrisonburg, VA, a lurking mass of buildings that never seems to have a purpose to those who live outside of its boundaries, Thrones of Deceit are easily one of the best of VA’s underground we’ve come across in quite awhile.  This particular demo was recorded in an old venue from their area called Crayola House that no longer exists, as far as we know.  Either way, house or no house, the sound quality of this is above house.  Squat would be more fitting, especially since they consider themselves crust.  There’s definitely a film of body soil and cruelty-free sweat tainting this one, and it’s great for it.  Each track has just the right recording level of clarity yet roughness.  Without the latter, it may not even have worked, it needs that to breed.  What it lacks in creativity, it more than easily makes up for with crude.  We just wish they would have had the tracks back-to-back on Bandcamp, so please note the player below is one, but the rest are on there.  Apparently they might have a few copies of this limited, 90-print-run beauty, as well as some CD-R cuts, but who wants that?  We want plastic reels, baby.  Thrones of Deceit Official Facebook  Score: 4 / 5

Ninika – EP 2012

For having such an indescript title for this cassette, you’d expect Ninika to bore.  But, if anything, the sickness of the sound coming out of this accursed thing required something more fitting.  Perhaps like Absolute Corruption of All You Call Life (copyright, Deaf Sparrow, 2015).  But, oh well, we’ll stick with EP 2012 because the song titles provide all the depravity we needed anyway.  Ninika keeps themselves hidden under piles of bones, as the art shows you on the right, consisting of three members who’ve been in several bands including Poison Tongue.  Really the main man behind this is Paul Von Aphid, who keeps his projects so hidden and brief he leaves no chance for the hip to even get a single taste bud on his grime.  Ninika, well, if you haven’t been around here before you’re probably not going to be prepared for it, at all, and we really mean that.  EP 2012 is one of the most evil of tapes to run through our deck in years.  It has annoyingly erect noise over huge sections of it, guitars/bass that are so muddied you’ll be cleaning your clothing for months, and vocals that sound like someone gargling with hydrochloric acid.  In fact, the man probably died making this, and if he didn’t, you soon will.  We’d raise our children on this one.  Ninika Has No Need For Fame Plebs  Score: 5 / 5


Written by Stanley Stepanic