MURK, Drifting Mine (2009, Bylec-Tum)

The skull:
Looking at this cover is like staring into the open casket at Chris Holmes’s funeral.

The music:
Murk sound like a souped-up Venom, playing proto-black metal that’s still 75% Motorhead. Raunchy and rudimentary, Murk are still kind of fun, if maybe not for the entire duration of this compilation. Drifting Mine collects a few EPs, some cover songs, and some rehearsal room demos, so the quality from track to track can vary quite a bit, and not just in the production department. “To Build A Wall” is almost unbelievably stupid, but “Perverted Behavior” is goofy fun. “Human Disaster” sounds like Obituary doing d-beat, while “Damage” sounds like a collection of the riffs Coroner would pack between the noodly bits. The whole thing has a deep underground feel without being unlistenably shitty sounding, although after a while, it all becomes a bit too much, and though it’s kind of impressive that a single guy handles all of the instruments and vocals (and we’re talking real drums here, not a machine), he’s not particularly great in any position. I’m not about to say that anyone needs to be listening to Murk, because even though I basically didn’t mind listening to Drifting Mine, I’m certain I’ll never be hankering for this again, but at the same time, if you like crusty, pseduo-black metal, then maybe there’s a place in your cassette deck for this.
— Friar Johnsen


CEREKLOTH, Halo of Syringes (2011, Hells Headbangers)

The skull:
SCENE III. A room of rehearsal.
Guy from Cerekloth at his post. Enter an artist.

Guy from Cerekloth: Thou art the master artist of our time.
What hast thee in thy mind for our EP?

Artist: A skull, perforce. What other thing could do?

GfC: I knoweth not, and yet my mind is ill
at ease. How doth the skull, in shape or sense
upon our music most unclean comment?

A: The gravity of death thy tunes proclaim, or so
I do detect.

GfC: You are correct, and yet
the title of this grim, unholy slab
is “Halo of Syringes.”

A: Then perhaps
around the figure’s bony brow should I
in ink that selfsame halo circumscribe.

GfC: Indeed! Thy genius is unmatched in all
these dark and Danish lands. So, hie thee now
unto thy scrivener’s desk to craft in black
and white that face unmasked, itself a mask
for all the seven inches of our songs!


The music:
Slow to crawling black metal, mainly reminding me of Blood Ritual-era Samael, down to the croaky Vorphalackian vocals and the distant, hollow guitar tone. The riffing is a little more advanced than Samael, and certainly owes something to late 90s black metal (particularly the groups not so interested in remaining tr00) and more modern stuff, particularly the angular oddness coming out of France. For some reason, Cerekloth bills themselves as death metal, and I guess it’s an open question if a band can actually be called “black metal” without blast beats, but to me, this doesn’t sound much like death metal at all. It’s perfectly serviceable stuff, but there are only two songs and a filler instrumental on this EP, so you’d probably be better off starting with the band’s full length debut, which came out a couple years after this.
Friar Johnsen

— Friar Johnsen