VARIOUS ARTISTS  Old Ways, Once More  CASSETTE   (Legion Blotan)   6.50

I'm a big fan of cassette compilations. Even moreso when it's a compilation of strange, highly abreasive black metal scum. Legion Blotan services a very specific audience, one that's got a craving for mutated, noisy, incredibly fucked-up music coming from a strange small corner of the European black metal underground, so this stuff is not for everyone. Seriously. You've got to be a real goblin to dig this compilation of exclusive no-fi black metal and barbaric black noise from the Legion Blotan, where all of the bands utilize archaic recording techniques and delivberately achieve the cruddiest, dirtiest recording quality they can, each band puking up their own unique, abrasive, ugly brand of black metal. Me? I've listened to Od Ways Once More at least a half dozen times this week. This tape fuckin' blisters.

Legion Blotan's flagship band White Medal (featuring label boss and Mutant Ape noise-terrorist George Proctor) opens the compilation with a crushing low-fi blackdoom assault titled "Northumbrian Tyrants", draping regal fuzz-soaked riffs over stomping Celtic Frost-esque sludge and bathing the whole song in a black cloud of four-track murkiness that becomes a cyclone of black chaos at the end. Punishing, as always. Axnaar follow with four songs of their peculiar brand of grotty psychedelic no-fi necropunk, the recording so filthy and blown-out that everything sort of blurs together in a rumbling mess of echoing panther screams and garbled backwards snarling, simple repetitive two-chord riffs drenched in delay, crackling noise, sudden blasts of bizarre effects erupting through the din, and pounding hardcore-style drums buried deep beneath several feet of grave-soil. Absolutely fucked - I love this stuff. Never heard Dumhammer Nat before this, but the two songs that they contribute are pretty killer, primitive blackened metal with throaty guittural vocals that have a distinct Brit accent and more catchy Frostian riff, offering up some of the catchiest songs on the tape. I can't wait to hear more from this band. The tinniest recording comes from the mysterious W�ddr�a Mylenstede, who offer two untitled songs of fast, majestic melodic black metal that sound so brittle, it's as is you are hearing some obscure second-wave Norwegian black metal demo that was recorded andplayed back on an ancient phonograph cylinder. The side closes with the song "Holtwudu" from black abstractionists Satanhartalt, a dismal, intoxicating bit of improvised graveyard ambience with rotted piano notes that wander among shambolic percussion, murky atonal guitar and droning bass, eventually becoming a lumbering mass of ghastly doom haunted by strange knocking noises, muted horn blasts, and swirling clouds of dank, toxic corpse-gas, further evolving into long stretches of rumbling, muddy industrial noise, creepy whistling, and churning black ambience...fans of Aderlating should check out this band pronto.

Sump are another key band on the Legion Blotan roster, and the five songs that they have contributed to Old Ways are primo blackened hardcore, which these guys do better than almost anyone. Songs like "Wood Mill / Lady Of The Lake" rip at near thrash speeds, more of metallic bite to the riffing than usual even as some of the songs have these anthemic hooks that sound almost "poppy", while the drumming is the standard barbaric HC stomp that infests all of their music. Nobody does the Negative Approach-gone-black metal sound like Sump, and all of these tracks are fucking vicious. Nothing, however, rivals the band Balisong when it comes to absolute no-fi putresence. Their three untitled tracks are the nastiest recordings on the entire tape, so raw and noisy that it sounds like you're listening to a live micro-cassette recoridng of a blackened punk band jamming two rooms away while someone is operating a very loud rock tumbler right next to the microphone. It's obnoxious and abrasive and very, very ugly, and with all of the bizarre vocal effects, warping tape noise, crashing cymbals and busted-speaker static, the result is a beautifully damaged blast of violent septic slime. Last is Vanyar, whose rather classic black metal timewarps me back to the early 90s with the icy, magesterial guitars and visions of noctural Nordic-influenced grandeur that are channeled through long, sprawling songs dripping with atmosphere; they've got two songs here, and I was left lusting for more as soon as the tape came to an end.

Note: this is the "unmarked: version of the cassette without the on-shell printing. Packaged inside of a PVC bag with a sixteen-page booklet that includes one page of lyrics, liner notes, and artwork from each of the bands.

Track Samples:
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Old Ways, Once More
Sample : VARIOUS ARTISTS-Old Ways, Once More