We are living in strange and difficult times. All over the world people are needing to make adjustments to their lives and for a lot of people there may be a big financial burden in the weeks and months ahead, not to mention the health and psychological strain there may be too.
Here at Blessed Altar Zine we’ve been thinking about what role we can play in supporting the great labels and bands of the metal underground – people who aren’t making huge amounts of money at the best of times – as well as finding a way to offer some positivity for the underground music fans.
Every week Julia Katrin and Tom Boatman will be sifting through the best offers and promotions from labels and bands we can find and sharing them with you. Whether it’s giveaways from labels or online performances from bands, we’ll be on the lookout, and hopefully, if you’ve got a little money to spare you’ll be tempted to spend it with some of the people we think are really worthy of your attention. So let’s see what’s out there…
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Transcending Obscurity is a treasure trove of Metal from all over the world, and when it comes to merch they will make your mouth water: coloured vinyl; box sets; t-shirts; limited CD packs. Previous releases from bands on the label like Heads for the Dead, Officium Triste and Innards have received much love at BAZ. This month the label is really going above and beyond with some great offers on their Bandcamp page. Firstly, there are free downloads on their whole digital back catalog and if that weren’t enough any physical order gets you a free Transcending Obscurity CD of your choice (just write it in the order note when you check out). The label also offers very good shipping rates, so make sure you take advantage of these great offers and if you can, support the label and their bands in turn by purchasing some of their excellent releases and merchandise.
Band: Death Courier
Dating all the way back to 1987, Death Courier has countless demos and splits under their belt and this year will be presenting their third full-length album, Necrotic Verses, under Transcending Obscurity Records. Being rumored to be the band at their highest standard yet, it is also said to be one of the strongest albums to come from the Greek death metal scene. Mixing up thrash and death metal, fans of old metal dogs with experience behind them should keep an eye out for this album, scheduled for the 5th of June. Pre-order the album now to receive one track immediately, and the whole album upon its release.
Band: The Drowning
Since 2003, UK based The Drowning has regularly spewed forth a quality mix of doom and death metal, and just last year released their no less than fifth full length album titled The Radiant Dark. While paying fantastic tribute to the pioneers of the genre, the group still manages to stamp the music with their own identity without losing the touch of atmosphere it should always contain. Crawling onto multiple lists for best album of the year of 2019, The Radiant Dark is available now from Transcending Obscurity Records and available versions include a recently released extremely limited, coloured and autographed double vinyl edition.
One of the younger artists on this list, Noctu hails from Italy. Although young this one-man project presented his debut album in 2017, and this year we will be gifted with another full-length album titled Gelidae Mortis Imago. Focusing on funeral doom metal, a certain shroud of mystery covers Noctu himself as he hollows out the listener´s soul and with a simple pre-order (including a number of different limited CD sets) you will receive two tracks now plus the complete album as soon as it is released on the 8th of May.
Band: Come Back from the Dead
The Rise of the Blind Ones released just last September was the second full-length album from the Spanish death metal masters Come Back from the Dead. Having created their own mix of worldly death metal the old school sound is still strong, and the album has even been referred to as one of the best-kept secrets of Spanish death metal. Available now from Transcending Obscurity Records, do keep in mind that this album is also available on extremely limited coloured vinyl, and is said to be one that collectors should not let pass them by.
Band: Officium Triste
Officium Triste has some story behind them; after all, having been active since 1994 it is obvious that quite some time has passed. Formally known as a death metal band under the name of Reincremated, Officium Triste now focuses on atmospheric doom/dark metal and have produced a fantastic amount of material so far. Last year their sixth full length album The Death of Gaia was released and immediately received piles upon piles of positive reactions and ruling album of the year lists. Now available from Transcending Obscurity Records, make sure to check out the beautifully tri-colored vinyl and artwork.
Band: Eternal Storm
Just last year Eternal Storm released their debut album Come the Tide, and it is safe to say that it came with a bang. In the form of melodic death metal at its absolute finest, these guys have taken the world by (eternal) storm so far, topping one list after another, and before long they had joined mainstream bands in the same genre such as Insomnium and Dark Tranquillity. Carefully planning and executing every single aspect of the album it leaves nothing wanting for the most hardcore fans of melodic as well as death metal. Available now from Transcending Obscurity Records, the artwork and vinyl version of this album are just to die for.
The Nomad Fundraiser
In these difficult times it is important to stick together and support each other, and we at BAZ believe that metalheads are some of the strongest to do so. While all bands struggle these days with canceled shows and festivals suffering devastating financial blows, we also have to remember the people who suffer the same blows behind the scenes. Therefore, we would like to point out the Nomad Fundraiser. Founded by Frank Fanelli, the Nomad Fundraiser is working to support the hundreds of people in the music industry who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Fanelli, a vocalist for the melodic death metal band The World we Knew and owner of the clothing company CAT clothing, is giving us, the fans, a chance to support the crew members and roadies that help bring forth, organize and set up the shows we love. Simply head over to the fundraiser´s webpage for further information. Last but not least we want to underline the importance of sharing, and remember that even if we are tight on cash, sharing music will go a long way in these difficult times.
By Julia Katrin and Tom Boatman
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.