Last Saturday we launched BAZ Underground Updates, our weekly focus on labels, bands and other people in the Metal Underground we think are extra worthy of your attention during these strange and difficult times around the world. Transcending Obscurity still have excellent offers on their Bandcamp site and the Nomad Fundraiser continues to make great progress. You can access all the details of both here.
Now it’s another week on and our writers Julia Katrin and Tom Boatman are back on the case to find out who else is doing their damndest to make a difference in the Metal Underground, whether it’s special offers, fundraising, or just really cool new releases.
Let’s see what’s out there…
Label: Black Lion Records
Black Lion Records is a Swedish Metal label with a roster of bands across an Extreme Metal spectrum with an emphasis on Death, Doom and Black Metal and is truly dedicated to the Underground. They’ve already got a rich back catalogue with some great sounding new releases coming soon from NEMESIUM, MARROWFIELDS and TETHRA that are well worth checking out.
The label runs a very cool Subscription offer, where for just €3 a month you get exclusive info and access, Bandcamp streaming on all their digital back catalogue, 10% off on all merchandise and digital downloads of new releases. Check out all the details here. The label also has both European and USA/North American stores for physical releases and merchandise.
If that wasn’t enough, they also have a whopping 25% discount offer running for a limited time for their followers. So head over to their Facebook and Bandcamp pages now and click the button to get the discount code while it’s still running, as well as notifications for all future offers.
Label: Sludgelord Records
I really need very little excuse to write about Sludgelord Records, one of my absolute favourite Underground Metal labels. As the name might suggest, you can find a lot of stellar Sludge Metal here, but there’s plenty more on offer and already this year they’ve put out some crushing new releases by THE DITCH AND THE DELTA, POSTVORTA and MIREPLANER. I never let a new release of theirs go by without giving it my full attention.
Last year the label put out the great debut by the UK’s WALLOWING and from that album the band has recorded a live version of the track IV: Hail Creation. You can download for £1 and all proceeds go to the UK NHS as support for the Covid-19 response (check it out here). It’s a very worthy cause and a perfect introduction to the band if you aren’t familiar with their distinct brand of nightmarishly distorted Sludge Metal.
If you like what Sludgelord Records do and you’ve got a little money burning a hole in your pocket, they’ve also got a great offer right now of 50% off their full digital discography (All 30 releases including OCKULTIST, GOBLINSMOKER and WOORMS) which you can access here.
In late February this year, solo project Funeral Pyre by KVAEN saw the light of day, and it is safe to say that it did so with a bang. Mixing Black Speed Metal with the pagan/Viking influence of northern Sweden, musician Jakob Björnfot received piles upon piles of bookings following the release. Taking the listener on an epic journey through the forests of the snowy and mystical environment that Jakob found inspiration in, it will not only keep you in a tight grip until the end, but will also ram the sound down your thirsty throat, in a delightful way of course. Available now from Black Lion Records, including CD, Vinyl, Cassette and some very cool t-shirts.
Band: Meadows End
One of the longer living Melodic Death Metal bands around, it appears as if MEADOWS END does not give up so easily. Since their first release of a demo in 1998, three more demos have been added to the collection, along with three EPs and four full length albums, the latest one just last year titled The Grand Antiquation via Black Lion Records. The eight track album is available now, but keep in mind that the vinyl editions, available from Plastic Head Megastore for example and out in three different colors, contain a little bit more than that as two additional songs were added as bonus tracks. A true symphony for the ear.
From all the way down under, NEMESIUM will be releasing their debut album, Continua, this summer via Black Lion Records. Since the independent release of an EP in 2015 limited to 300 copies, Continua is an album inspired by old extreme metal bands with various modern influences and melodic riffage. Pre-order Continue now and receive two tracks instantly plus the complete album at the moment of its release.
With a demo behind them from 2016, MARROWFIELDS will be releasing their debut album titled Metamorphoses on the 24th this month via Black Lion Records. Managing to fill just over 51 minutes with five tracks, it is given that each one is quite long and filled with atmospheric doom metal. Inspired by Ovidian folklore, rumor has it that the group has managed to fluently mix the traditional doom sound with an elegant dreamlike experience resulting in a poetic listening journey throughout the album. With a pre-order you will receive three tracks now, and of course the complete album the moment of its release.
As if we haven’t been delighted enough, we still have some honorable mentions.
WINTAAR has decided to re-issue Winter Worship this year, as has been long promised. A lot of changes appear to have been made and it is safe to say that this re-issue can be referred to as a new album. In a new suit of Wintaar´s current sound it is now available for free, yes you read it right, for FREE, as it is the artists opinion that charging for a remake of old material isn’t reasonable. Keep in mind however that you are free to name your own price, if you wish to support him.
Band: Midnight Odyssey
This week MIDNIGHT ODYSSEY released their new album Ruins of a Celestial Fire via I, Voidhanger Records. In the form of ambient black metal the four track album is over an hour long and inspired by science fiction and 70´s Kosmische music. With Dis Pater doing all the work, the album is now available and all you have to do is name your price.
It is clear that even in these difficult times which are still upon us, that the underground is in no way stagnant and plenty of options are out there for everyone. Only one question remains; what are you waiting for?
By Julia Katrin, and Tom Boatman
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.**