We've picked up a bunch of different cassettes from the French black metal label Infernal Kommand for Crucial Blast, all of 'em filled with weird and freaked out occult black metal mutations and queasy psychedelic ambience scraped from the underbelly of the French BM underground. Some of the tapes that we've been able to get are from familiar freakazoids (like the brilliantly fucked one man black metal of Zarach'Baal'Tharagh), while others are new discoveries, from the pitch-black void-ambience of Aymrev Erkroz Prevre and the ritual industrial murk of Stigma Diabolicum, to the sadistic satanic power electronic/crypt-drone rites of Silcharde, Malvoisie's bizarre didgeridoo-fueled black metal hallucinations and the perverted blackgrind overload of Kratornas. All of this stuff is brilliant and fucked, the sort of damaged outsider black metal weirdness that we lust for constantly, and fellow fans of all things blackened and noisy and abstract should definitely check all of these titles out.
The bulk of the cassettes that we got from Infernal Kommando are from that one man black metal project known as Zarach'Baal'Tharagh. I found out about Zarach'Baal'Tharagh after we picked up that collection of demos that At War With False Noise put out on cd a while back, and ever since then I've been looking for more of ZBT's utterly brain-damaged primitive black metal psychosis. The guy behind ZBT, Luc Mertz, has got to be one of the most prolific loner black metallers ever; according to Metal-archives.com, he's up to eighty demos as of this moment, with more surely on the way, and whats really wild is that so far everything that I've heard from this self-described " French master of bedroom black metal" has been amazing (and amazingly bizarre). This is exactly the sort of uber-fucked stumbling low-fi black metal mess that fans (like myself) of Furze, Striborg, Defuntos, Wormsblood, Alkerdeel, Raw Hatred and Tjolgtjar lust for.
This cassette is a collections of a couple of different Zarach'Baal'Tharagh that had previously been released. Collected here are the Porn Of The Dead demo, the Hate cassette, and the Lunatic Improvised Rehearsal, all originally released between 2006 and 2007. The Porn Of The Dead material consists of siix tracks of some of the most far-out and noise damaged ZBT material that I've heard so far, which is really saying something. Actually, these tracks are only marginally "black metal" - there's minimal mosquito riffing and weird flanged-out screaming, but it's all smothered in harsh oscillating tones, murky Abruptum-esque dungeon clatter, and orgasmic groans and cricket-like chirping looped into surreal, bestial soundscapes. Way closer to low-fi industrial soundscapes than anything resembling black metal.
The Hate demo is actually the same tracks that appeared on the split with blacknoize thrashers DOG (whose 3" CD on Autopsy Kitchen we just reviwed/listed in last week's new arrivals list). Again, this stuff is more like some kind of psychedelic blacknoise industrial freakout than "metal", with six tracks of raw, repetitious deformed riffing and meandering Butthole Surfers-like acid guitar over murky black ambience, samples and field recordings, tortured screams and looped moaning, clanging minimal percussion...it's alot like Abruptum, but steeped in an ultra lo-fi cruddiness that sounds like someone recorded a bunch of awesome black metal thrash riffs over a disintegrating RRRecords noise cassette on a malfunctioning ghetto blaster. I'm not going near this stuff again until I've managed to get my hands on some choice blotter...
On the flipside, the Lunatic Improvised Rehearsal stuff is equally freaked. Despite it's title these tracks really don't sound any more improvised than anything else that ZBT has released, but I'll take his word for it. It starts off with "Lunacy", an almost a capella nigtmare of raging thrash riffs and choked super-distorted screams that cycle over an empty, drumless void, then moves on to the noisy Motorhead-like jam "Unfriendly" that suddenly turns toxic when the guitar plummets out of tune fifteen seconds in as those insane reptilian shrieks swoop overhead. The rest of these seven tracks likewise tread between gnarly repetitious blackened punk riffs and stumbling midpaced drumming and more abstract blacknoise wig-outs, at times remind me of a cross between Abruptum and a tenth-generation bootleg Bone Awl cassette that someone just peeled off the bottom of a dumpster.