TERMINUS: extreme metal podcast
Terminus Episode 40 - Spire, Carcinoma, Qwälen, Ancient Spheres

Terminus Episode 40 - Spire, Carcinoma, Qwälen, Ancient Spheres

February 25, 2021

On this week's bright, shiny, punctual episode of Terminus, we've got a bit of a role reversal for you. The Black Metal Guy gets the first half of the show, with some uncharacteristically polished, modern-sounding, death-metal-ish stuff. On the second half, The Death Metal Guy brings you an interesting sampler of.... raw black metal?

TBMG leads off with the Spire's long-awaited, carefully-crafted Temple of Khronos. While anyone who liked Entropy (2016) will like this record, it's a bit of a stylistic curveball, not so much a forward leap as a clever sidestep. Your hosts try to figure it out, as they bang their heads to these memorable, dramatic songs.

Next, TBMG continues his reign of terror with the debut full-length of Carcinoma, who sit at the crossroads of several subgenres of dissonant, punishing black and death metal. Unlike many of their ortho-, disso-, and cavernous competitors, however, Carcinoma cut through the murk with convulsive, high-intensity body music.

After the break, The Death Metal Guy takes over, and it's stomping time. He introduces us to Qwälen, a new Finnish BM band whose crust / hardcore roots show in their refreshingly intense, aggressive take on the style. TBMG digs it, but he feels like he's heard this somewhere before....

TDMG closes out with one of his classic off-the-beaten-path finds, nocturnal rainforest BM from Costa Rica's Ancient Spheres. This band is steeped in the spirit of 90s Scandinavia, transposed about 50 degrees latitude south, and 90 degrees longitude west. No point trying to describe it any more, here. This band rules. Just listen.

 

00:00 - Introductory bullshitting / rundown of bands and labels

07:55 - Spire - Temple of Khronos (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

52:02 - Carcinoma - Labascation (Rat King Records)

01:27:16 - Interlude - Sectioned - “Beautiful Struggle” into “Starved Lives,” fr. Annihilated (Independent, 2019)

01:35:45 - Qwälen - Unohdan sinut (Time to Kill Records)

02:08:40 - Ancient Spheres - Prayers of the Black Flame (Independent)

02:58:18 - Outro - Zargof - "Beyond the Dark Gates of My Promised Fortress," fr. Departure For The Cosmic Twilight (Ars Magna Recordings, 2005). Digital released independently on Bandcamp *for free*.

 

Terminus links:

Terminus on Youtube

Terminus on Patreon

Terminus on Subscribestar

Terminus on Instagram

Terminus on Facebook

thetrueterminus@gmail.com

Terminus Interview - Silvanthrone

Terminus Interview - Silvanthrone

February 23, 2021

A week after our review of Silvanthrone's debut LP, Forbidden Pathways to Ancient Wisdom, The Black Metal Guy calls up guitarist and songwriter Spellbearer to learn the band's story and shoot the shit about songwriting. Over the course of this relaxed but high-density conversation, Spellbearer discusses the uphill battle to record Forbidden Pathways, makes the case for teaching yourself songs by only one great band, and leads us through the cryptic mists to the essence of true PABM (Pennsylvania Black Metal). What emerges is the portrait of an understated but assured young warrior coming into his full power, guided by a rare sense of where he stands in the tradition.

 

00:00 - Introduction / lineup / Goathex

03:50 - "Alright, Lombardo beat!" - how Silvanthrone plays music

10:19 - From the S/T EP to Forbidden Pathways

18:04 - "The most masterful riffing I can imagine" - learning from vs. imitating influences / tempering melody in blood / picking with power and inflection

34:52 - Interlude - Silvanthrone, “Ghosts of The Desolate Corridor,” fr. Forbidden Pathways to Ancient Wisdom (Nihilistic Noise Propaganda, 2021)

39:09 - "I never understood how reviewers do it" - we talk over the Terminus review (Ep. 38)

45:49 - Quest for The Double LP - short vs. long full-lengths / record vs. CD vs. radio vs. aux

52:27 - Pennsylvania Black Metal - the circle and the ancestors / Spellbearer's path ahead

01:03:54 - Black Task, “Sex and Destruction” fr. the Black Task EP (Damnation Records, 1985)

 

NOTE: The Thai black metal band Spellbearer recommends is กาฬพราย, pronounced “Kan-Prai.” You can check out the full-length demo, ทุกขอัคคี  (Blaze of Suffering), on Greg Biehl’s crucial Youtube channel.

 

Terminus links:

Terminus on Youtube

Terminus on Patreon

Terminus on Subscribestar

Terminus on Instagram

Terminus on Facebook

thetrueterminus@gmail.com

Terminus Episode 39 - Ad Nauseam, Aphelion, Ulvegr, Pan-Amerikan Native Front

Terminus Episode 39 - Ad Nauseam, Aphelion, Ulvegr, Pan-Amerikan Native Front

February 20, 2021

In this long-awaited (sorry!) episode of Terminus, your hosts explore the outer limits of death metal, refine the contours of a new subgenre they've just named (see Elegiac segment in Ep. 38), and sing the praises of really loud drums (that's bands #2-4, and the snare on #1 isn't bad either).

The show lurches off to a gronkulated start with Ad Nauseam, an Italian death metal (?) band as abrasive as they are musically sophisticated. Their serious knowledge of music theory and composition gives them an arsenal for taking that most underwhelming of subgenres, "dissonant black/death." to the levels of high artistry and frenzied extremity it's always attempted. In the process, we return to a conversation that's been coming up a lot lately -- "Is this even death metal, anymore?"

Next, we finally check out a band we've heard good things about from one of our patrons, and The Internet in general - Aphelion, whose high-energy Missouri black metal runs through a vast array of styles, yet exudes a very particular vibe. What core sound is this new band striving toward, and how does it fit into where the American scene these days?

Leading off the second half, we're back with some totally killer blackened sludgegri..... Just kidding, it's more Slavblack. This time, it's Ulvegr, veterans of the Ukrainian scene who play a fiercely focused, stormblasting variant of their native style. The Black Metal Guy praises their elemental riffcraft, while The Death Metal Guy hails the sharply punctuated drum attack, and - as always - finds a couple interesting musical parallels. 

Finally, it's been only a few months since we reviewed Pan-Amerikan Native Front's split with Ifernach, but P.A.N.F. is back with a decisive victory in Little Turtle's War. Here, Kurator of War leads us through 18th-century warscapes of cinematic scale, shrouded in smoke, peppered by gunshots, and paced by the pulse of shamanic battle-drums. We link P.A.N.F.'s flagship Native BM to the broader currents of American "outlaw rock," and talk over the significant growth in songwriting.

After we'd already recorded the episode, we learned a couple interesting things from Kurator. First, he wrote LTW in 1.5 months. Second, the massive drum sound here and on the split comes directly from the Iron Hand of Dan Klein (ex-F.I.N.), who also handled mixing and mastering. 

 

00:00 - Intro / Terminus News ft. Black Hole Deity and Deiquisitor / rundown of bands and labels

00:23:01 - Ad Nauseam - Imperative Imperceptible Impulse (Avantgarde Music)

01:09:12 - Aphelion - The Chill of Heavens Abandonment (Independent)

01:48:19 - Interlude - Bob Dylan - "The Times They Are A-Changin'," fr. The Times They Are A-Changin' (Columbia Records, 1964)

01:51:31 - Ulvegr - Isblod (Ashen Dominion)

02:28:03 - Pan-Amerikan Native Front - Little Turtle’s War (Stygian Black Hand - USA / Les Fleurs du Mal - CA / Death Kvlt - UK + EU)

 

Terminus links:

Terminus on Youtube

Terminus on Patreon

Terminus on Subscribestar

Terminus on Instagram

Terminus on Facebook

thetrueterminus@gmail.com

Terminus Episode 38 - Elegiac, Silvanthrone, Astral Tomb, Devilgroth

Terminus Episode 38 - Elegiac, Silvanthrone, Astral Tomb, Devilgroth

February 9, 2021

In this bracing late-winter blast of Terminus, we review four really cool bands in two distinct halves, each pointing "beyond metal" in the way we've been talking about lately.

In Part I, The Black Metal Guy brings two prime examples of the bright but rough-edged sound that's come to characterize the best of USBM, and floats a new term to capture what separates this distinctly American style from Black Metal proper.

Leading off, the prolific one-man project Elegiac returns from a year in the (literal) wilderness with Father of Death, a lengthy and ambitious release that blends bulldozer Bathory beats with soaring backwoods heathen melodies. TDMG brings some interesting, unexpected reference points to the table, and we argue about whether Elegiac has "arrived" quite yet.

Up next is Silvanthrone, a young band from Pennsylvania (they'll have you know!) who put a distinctive spiritual and compositional twist on the familiar Franco-Finnish sound. We try to figure out what makes this sound more American than European, what work the more Euro / Chivalric riffs are doing here, and whether we can pin down a distinctly "Silvanthrone" style of composition.

Not to be outdone, The Death Metal Guy comes in with two bands that carry their genres -- "death metal" and "Slavonic black metal," respectively -- so far into abstraction, it's difficult to even call them metal anymore. Each attains a kind of monolithic, fundamental-level-of reality presence, so strap in, dudes, it's time to get metaphysical.

After the break, we check out the new EP by Astral Tomb, another group of young dudes who've been lumped in with the likes of Blood Incantation because of their name. This sounds nothing like Blood Incantation, or.... anything else, really! TDMG hails the extreme precision of their "sloppy," improvised-sounding chug / skronk attack, while TBMG rhapsodizes over the links to primordial guitar noise.

Finally, we venture into Siberian wilds in the snowshoe grooves of Devilgroth, whose majestic Svyatogor carries swirling Slavonic trem far beyond the confines of the riff and the blastbeat. This isn't what you're expecting, either -- it depends on some cross-genre connections that nobody saw coming, and truly carries the BM tradition into uncharted territory.

 

0:00 - Introductory bullshitting / Terminus news ft. Trivax / rundown of bands and labels

20:40 - Elegiac - Father of Death (tape on Sacrificial Sounds / CD on Todesritter this spring)

1:03:49 - Silvanthrone - Forbidden Pathways to Ancient Wisdom (Nihilistic Noise Propaganda)

1:45:03 - Interlude - Aorlhac - "Sant Flor, la cite des vents," fr. La Cite des Vents (Those Opposed Records, 2010 - reissued in 2016).

1:51:18 - Astral Tomb - Degradation of Human Consciousness (Blood Harvest)

2:33:08 - Devilgroth - Svyatogor (Werewolf Promotion / Nebula Aeterna Productions)

3:20:35 - Outro - Branikald - “The Sail’s Wild Kin,” Frost Vision (Stellar Winter Records, 1999)

 

Terminus links:

Terminus on Youtube

Terminus on Patreon

Terminus on Subscribestar

Terminus on Instagram

Terminus on Facebook

thetrueterminus@gmail.com

Terminus 37 - Altered Dead, Stargazer, Anal Stabwound, Tau Cross

Terminus 37 - Altered Dead, Stargazer, Anal Stabwound, Tau Cross

February 3, 2021

On this august 37th episode of Terminus, we bring you one of our most eclectic lineups in a long while, including not one, but two, or maybe even three death metal bands -- depending on how you count.

The Death Metal Guy leads off with a flattening second record from Altered Dead, who immediately join Pneuma Hagion and Sepulchral Curse in the Terminus pantheon of "OSDM-type stuff that's actually original and really good." Altered draw on some of the same core influences as P.H. - American stuff from the early 90s - but deliver an entirely different synthesis. What is it? Listen and find out....

The Black Metal Guy follows with the long-awaited return of Stargazer,  known for their highly melodic, prog-tending variant of Australian war metal. But how, The Death Metal Guy asks, does this have anything to do with Bestial Warlust or Destroyer 666?? A fair question. The astral exploration has wandered a little far from home base.

Kicking off the second half, The Death Metal Guy tears into the relatively pristine flesh of 2021 with his first brutal death metal record of the year. Anal Stabwound has a brutal name and a brutaller backstory, but what's brutalest about this one man army is his sophisticated approach to composition - all in the service of savagery.

To close out, The Black Metal Guy takes us back in time to a November 2020 release that flew totally under his radar -- Tau Cross' third album, Messengers of Deception. It's a bit of an outlier on an extreme metal show, because it's in many ways a heavy rock album. But it's rock as written by Rob Miller, who helped invent extreme metal in his 80s crust punk band Amebix. Rest assured, the same ragged roar and apocalyptic vision are at work here.

 

00:00 - Introductory bullshitting / quick Terminus news / rundown of bands and labels

11:17 - Altered Dead - Returned to Life (Memento Mori)*

54:03 - Stargazer - Psychic Secretions (Nuclear War Now!)

01:52:19 - Interlude - Vintersorg - "Dopt I en Jokelsjo," fr. Solens Rotter (Napalm Records / Irond Records / Scarecrow Records / Somber Music)

01:58:33 - Anal Stabwound - The Visceral Sovereign (Inherited Suffering Records)

02:33:57 - Tau Cross - Messengers of Deception (Heretical Music, distributed by Easy Action Records)

03:29:15 - Outro - Amebix - “The Power Remains,” fr. Monolith (Heavy Metal Records, 1987). There’s an official Bandcamp, run by Stig I believe, where you can buy a remaster of Monolith, and original versions of the rest of the discography.

*CORRECTION: TDMG accidentally refers to Memento Mori as an Italian label. Memento Mori is from Spain.

 

Terminus links:

Terminus on Youtube

Terminus on Patreon

Terminus on Subscribestar

Terminus on Instagram

Terminus on Facebook

thetrueterminus@gmail.com

Terminus 36 - Mefitis, Novae Militiae, Vampirska / Glemt, Lycopolis

Terminus 36 - Mefitis, Novae Militiae, Vampirska / Glemt, Lycopolis

January 27, 2021

Greetings, Terminators. On this glorious and exalted episode of Terminus, we dedicate the first half to the black/death avant-garde, and the second half to skillful work in established black metal traditions.

To lead off, we wander the tangled waterways of Mefitis' second LP Offscourings, a gray and misty realm where sophisticated 90s DM and sinister Swedish black/death bleed into something the band calls "dark metal." Riffs flow by in the blink of an eye, and sinuous proggy melodies loom up out of the fog. We try to chart this bleak domain -- have Mefitis led us beyond the boundaries of metal?

Next up, we check out another sophomore effort, this time from  the heart of the French Orthodox scene. We're both skeptical of Orthodox stuff - The Death Metal Guy especially - but Novae Militiae subordinate well-worn genre tropes to the higher purpose of m o n o l i t h i c p u m m e l i n g, so there's plenty of interest here.

It's been a while since we reviewed a vampyric rawtapeblack split (last was Grundhyrde / Klagesturm, over the summer), so The Death Metal Guy harvests a new one that features both wings of the subgenre -- the chivalric and the depraved. The Black Metal Guy gripes a bit, but ultimately there's a side for each of us.

Finally, The Black Metal Guy brings on The Procession, the new one from an ostensibly-Egyptian project called Lycopolis. This gives us an occasion to discuss the general phenomenon of Middle Eastern black metal -- the embarrassing public response to it, and the challenges of writing BM that really "sounds" Middle Eastern. Lycopolis meets those challenges and then some.

 

00:00 - Introductory bullshitting

03:16 - Terminus News ft. Alphaeus and Quell

00:21:41 - Mefitis - Offscourings (Hessian Firm)

01:08:24 - Novae Militiae - Topheth (Goathorned Productions / Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

01:43:24 - Interlude - Celeste - “Dans ta salive, sur sa peau” fr. Animale(s) (Denovali, 2013)

01:52:40 - Vampirska / Glemt - By Sanguinarian Will... (Inferna Profundus / Azure Graal)

02:36:14 - Lycopolis - The Procession (Snow Wolf Records / Azure Graal)

03:16:18 - Outro - Halla - "666 Sanctus" - Altars & Halla split 7" (King of the Monsters Records, 2010)

 

Terminus links:

Terminus on Youtube

Terminus on Patreon

Terminus on Subscribestar

Terminus on Instagram

Terminus on Facebook

thetrueterminus@gmail.com

Terminus 35 - Vergeblichkeit, Haljoruna, Maquahuitl, Gates of Doom, Sagenland

Terminus 35 - Vergeblichkeit, Haljoruna, Maquahuitl, Gates of Doom, Sagenland

January 21, 2021

"We invoke thee, Black Podcast of Chaos.
We evoke thee, O mighty Terminus.

Awaken now from your aeonic slumber - rise up from the abyss!
Podcast of forgotten lore - let your Chaos rule forever more.
Cohosts - Raise your double heads! Let your opinions.... rule again!"*

And lo, we have answered your evocations, returned from the hoary winter's deep with a massive episode full of new ideas (!), common threads, jeremiads against hollow trends, and grandiose pronouncements about the future of black metal.

To whet your palates for the new Ruins of Beverast, we begin with a highbrow Germanic solo project you probably haven't heard of -- Vergeblichkeit. This is weirdly original music, like 80s goth rock built with "parts" from all over extreme metal, but structured in a way that draws your attention to the whole. It's music that takes time to digest, and you'll hear us getting more into it as the segment goes on.

We pair that with the new full-length from Norse / Swedish folk-synth-black duo Haljoruna, in advance of its tape release on Old Mill Artifacts. The mood couldn't be more different from Vergeblichkeit, but there is a similar ambition at work. The Death Metal Guy waxes eloquent on Haljoruna's reconstruction of Scandinavian black metal from entirely new parts, and The Black Metal Guy frames it as an evolutionary adaptation to The Internet.

In lieu of an interlude, we've crammed in a longer-than-intended mini-review of the new Maquahuitl EP. We play the lead song, "El Corrido de Gregorio Cortez," in its entirety. It's a short release, but a decisive moment in the history of USBM, and well worth your time.

In Part II, we're back to somewhat more familiar waters. First, we check out of Gates of Doom, a stadium-sized melodic death/black band whose debut album tells the story of the Roman city Aquileia (located in their native north-Italian region of Friuli). There's obviously a lot to like about this album, but it awakens TBMG's hatred of the "polished melodic BM" trend, and he goes Full Metal Autist. Will TDMG be able to call him back from the edge of madness?

We close out with a panoramic review of Oale Gruund, the debut by Sagenland, a (sort of) new band from the hart of the Dutch scene around Heidens Hart Records. Though TDMG really likes the riffs, he finds the songs as a whole difficult to get into. He voices his objections, TBMG voices his replies, and together we arrive at (what we think are) some pretty interesting ideas about musical "scale" and structure, and a better understanding of the Dutch sound as a whole.

TL/DR we're back, feels good, check it out.

00:00 - Introductory bullshitting

09:30 - Vergeblichkeit - Die Almosen der Wunde (Independent)

48:24 - Haljoruna - Haustblot (Old Mill Artifacts)**

01:27:53 - Maquahuitl - Con Su Pistola en La Mano (digital and tape on Balamku / LP forthcoming on Goatowarex and Not Kvlt Records)

01:55:27 - Gates of Doom - Aquileia Mater Aeterna (Cult of Parthenope)

02:26:54 - Sagenland - Oale Gruund (Heidens Hart)

03:10:37 - Thesyre - "The Cult of Victory," fr. Duality (CD by Selbstmord Services / LP by Blasphemous Underground Productions). FYI, this veteran Quebecois band is back from a decade-long break, and all their stuff is up on Bandcamp now (see album link).

* Apologies to Dissection. R.I.C. Jon.
** On the show we pronounce it "Hausblot" -- we'd seen it spelled a couple different ways, but this is how it's spelled on the band's website.

Terminus links:

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Terminus on Facebook

thetrueterminus@gmail.com

Terminus Prime 8 - Altars of Madness vs. In The Nightside Eclipse

Terminus Prime 8 - Altars of Madness vs. In The Nightside Eclipse

January 10, 2021

Here it is, our belated Xmas / Yule present to all you loyal Terminators -- our most epic patrons-only bonus show yet.

In this relatively long-awaited episode, The Black Metal Guy does something he's been putting off for at least a decade -- he actually listens to Emperor's In The Nightside Eclipse and Morbid Angel's Altars of Madness in their entirety. Hilarity ensues. Wisdom is attained. Secrets are revealed. Portals are opened. Demons are summoned. The Death Metal Guy gently walks him through the process.

This one's got a different structure from our usual "wall of shame" format, with more extensive audio sampling and ongoing side-y-side discussion of both records. It's a bit more like a collaborative, real-time essay. Or just two old buddies shooting the shit about boomer metal.

If you like these (even more) long-form reviews of old records, and you want to ask us intelligent questions about Brainbombs late into the night, please consider supporting us on Patreon or Subscribestar, which gets you access to bonus shows and - for $5 and up - the Terminus Black Circle discord.

 

00:00 - General impressions and cool parts

58:23 - Targeted comparisons: vestigial thrash and grind

01:28:35 - Why weren't people trying HARDER to censor this stuff?

 

Terminus links:

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thetrueterminus@gmail.com

Terminus Omega 2020 - The Year-End Show

Terminus Omega 2020 - The Year-End Show

December 30, 2020

In this last show of the year, The Black Metal Guy and The Death Metal Guy take turns rolling through their top 20 lists, arguing over rankings, and reviewing the year in extreme metal. It takes 4.5 hours, so pour yourself at least 4.5 drinks, put on your special lucky Rites of Thy Degringolade pajama set, and get ready to burst a vein in your forehead as you vigorously disagree with at least 50% of what we say.

Terminus started at the end of this past May, and we've made it seven months. We're taking two weeks off now, so you can expect the first regular show of the new year on January 20, 2021. Thanks for listening, maniacs.

 

Terminus links:

Terminus on Youtube

Terminus on Patreon

Terminus on Subscribestar

Terminus on Instagram

Terminus on Facebook

thetrueterminus@gmail.com

Terminus Interview - Sepulchral Curse

Terminus Interview - Sepulchral Curse

December 29, 2020

In this special episode of Terminus, The Black Metal Guy speaks to Kari (vocalist) and Jaakko (guitarist) of Finland's mighty Sepulchral Curse, whose debut album Only Ashes Remain is one of the finest death metal releases of 2020 (reviewed on T12). This interview will give you some insight into the band's history, and how their uniquely sombre, ripping sound fits into the landscape of Scandinavian death and black metal.

But ultimately, it's all about how Sepulchral Curse writes songs. And nobody does it quite like this. Over the course of the conversation, Kari and Jaako reveal the inner workings of a band with not two, not three, but four active voices in the writing process, and a single - very big - brain between the four of them. This interview stands as a testament to a core tenet of Terminus: the irreplaceable value of playing music with real people, real friends, in an actual band.

Note: We were having some issues with audio feedback, so we proceeded in a ritualistic, Japanese-tea-ceremony sort of way, with each of us speaking in turn.

00:00 - Lineup and formation of Sepulchral Curse.

03:55 - "A red line running through the whole album" - What's the secret to SC's hydra-headed songwriting assault? And what even is Finnish death metal, anyway?

32:00 - Walking a fine line - Jaakko on how to write melodies in death metal, without writing melodeath.

39:30 - "I use a lot of power" - Kari on stretching his vocal technique from Solothus (doom-death) to Sepulchral Curse.

44:05 - The million-dollar question - What is the difference between black and death metal? Ft. Jaakko's guide to writing a canned Swedeath revival song.

55:13 - "Into The Sleep of Earth's Ashes" - on writing the album's mountainous closing track, "Maan Tuhkien Uneen."

58:42 - "Into the extremes" - What's the direction for the next full-length?

01:03:02 - Outro - Sepulchral Curse - "Maan Tuhkien Uneen," fr. Only Ashes Remain (Transcending Obscurity, 2020)

Terminus links:

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thetrueterminus@gmail.com

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