Dave’s Best of 2018 Awards!

Hello folks! I am back with my second “Best Of” Awards article…..but with more sections to spice things up. Newcomer Vick wrote hers and I’m here with my valued or unvalued opinion with some possible bias. The numbers aren’t important in my article I DO NOT RANK I just list my favorite albums. I’m going to apologize right meow as I have a lot of categories if it’s too long…..but then again its for a full year and there were lots of GREAT releases and new bands starting up that should be put to the forefront.  I hope you enjoy the new categories too.  Let’s get it on!

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Up and Coming Bands

Inanimate Existence– Artisan Era (my favorite label) tech/prog death metal powerhouses released a great album “Underneath A Melting Sky” in 2017 and Guitarist Cameron Porras’ songwriting and playing only gets better every release.  The guys work great as a cohesive three piece band.  If they get put on the Summer Sumerian/Slaughter/Summer’s Disappointment tour or a big festival like Download/Hellfest/Graspop they would kick the shit out of the same pop metal bands that have graced some of those stages.  I have a lot of faith in this band and are vastly underrated.  Keep an eye on the IE dudes.

Dischordia– Oklahoma dissonant/tech/progressive death metallers released a great EP that is the most experimental and original thing I have heard in a bit in the genre.  It’s becoming blatantly obvious how much I love the different experiments some death metal bands are doing.  If a genre stays stagnant…..are you really making any progression? Does one ALWAYS have to abide by the rules and stereotype of a genre? NO! As artists, we hate feeling creatively suffocated (so to say) to a label and want to write what we want and how we want! Dischordia just keeps pushing that envelope and their crazy 2 song 24 minute EP “Binge/Purge” really surprised me.  Earlier this year I heard the guys and it blew my mind.  Ukulele, Flute, Mandolin and other various instruments are included in their latest release.  Also, there is a plethora of  heavy influence of dissonance and cool rhythms the trio has come up with.  Every release Dischordia’s sound and songwriting has progressed “Binge/Purge” has really helped push their experimentation to the forefront.  Keep an eye on them as well.  Below is my article of the EP stream through Decibel Magazine to get your Dischordia on!

Dischordia- Binge/Purge EP stream via Decibel Magazine

Burial In The Sky– Another great up and coming band that’s helping break that stereotypical extreme metal sound.  Why do I dig this band a lot? Their latest album “Creatio Et Hominus” includes a lot of saxophone! The band also has hits of psychadelic rock sprinkled throughout the album.  BITS has been pushing progressive death metal’s boundaries as well.  Their first few offerings were more straightforward but got real experimental with the album. They’re a young and promising band who you need to look out for. Originality and talent can make for a promising career….and I hope Burial In the Sky achieves everything they want to because they deserve it.

Burial In The Sky April 2018 Interview

BEST EP’S AND SINGLES OF 2018

  1. Mordant Rapture- The Abnegation
  2. Carnal Decay- When Push Comes To Shove
  3. Dischordia- Binge/Purge
  4. Widow’s Peak- Graceless
  5. Infinitee- The Possibilities Are Endless
  6. I Am Destruction- Violence Devours
  7. Between The Buried And Me- Automata 1
  8. Divine Realm- Nordicity
  9. Leprous- Golden Prayers (Single)
  10. Cynic- Humanoid (Single)
  11. Between The Buried And Me- Automata 2
  12. The Odious Construct- Shrine Of The Obscene
  13. Godless- Swarm
  14. Oppressor God- Mechanical Manslaughter
  15. Promethean- The Nameless Colour
  16. Weaponex- In The Nick Of Time
  17. Infinite Nomad- Luminous Throat
  18. Catalysis- Catalysis
  19. Astrolabe- The Hermit, The Fool, The Hanged Man
  20. Crevassian- Crevassian
  21. Fawn Limbs- Thrum
  22. Ash prison- Prophetic Automation

BEST ALBUMS OF 2018

  1. Oubliette- The Passage
  2. Aethereus- Absentia
  3. Obscura- Diluvium
  4. Jollymon- Voidwalker
  5. Lago- Sea Of Duress
  6. Xenosis- Devour And Birth
  7. The Beast Of Nod- Vampire: Disciples Of Chaos
  8. AHTME- Sewerborn
  9. Burial In The Sky- Creatio Et Hominus
  10. Unflesh- Savior
  11. Alkaloid- Liquid Anatomy
  12. The Slyde- Awakening
  13. At The Gates- To Drink From The Night Itself
  14. Skinless- Savagery
  15. Galactic Empire- Episode Two
  16. ISA- Chimera
  17. Ingested- The Level Above Human
  18. Inferi- Revenant
  19. Aepoch- Awakening Inception
  20. Slugdge- Esoteric Malacology
  21. Augury- Illusive Golden Age
  22. Rivers Of Nihil- Where Owls Know My Name
  23. Montheist- Scourge
  24. Alterbeast- Feast
  25. Decrescent- Blackened Bequest
  26. Forever In Transit- States Of Disconnection
  27. Pestilence- Hadeon
  28. Into The Great Divide- Into The Great Divide
  29. Aviations- The Light Years
  30. Soreption- Monument Of The End
  31. Exocrine- Molten Giant
  32. Trigger- The Harbor
  33. Serocs- Phobos/Deimos Suite
  34. Cognitive- Matricide
  35. Haken- Vector
  36. Gorod- Aethra
  37. Internal Bleeding- Corrupting Influence
  38. The Ocean- Phanerozoic 1: Palaeozoic
  39. Neptunus- Alien Conspiracy
  40. Torturous Inception- Arcane Dominion
  41. Dysmorphic- An Illusive Progress
  42. Inertia- Teratoma
  43. Kraanium- Slamchosis
  44. Sarah Longfield- Disparity
  45. Psycroptic- As The Kingdom Drowns
  46. Arsis- Visitant
  47. Halothane- A False Reality
  48. Zac Leaser- Redeemer
  49. Gourmand- Blossoming From The Grave
  50. Tesseract- Sonder

Best Independent Bands

  1. Aepoch
  2. Unflesh
  3. Dischordia
  4. Xenosis
  5. Promethean
  6. Bleak flesh
  7. Gourmand

What releases I’m looking forward to in 2019

  1. Bleak Flesh
  2. Promethean
  3. Inanimate Existence
  4. Black Crown Initiate
  5. The Haarp Machine
  6. Opeth (maybe a single? Just…maybe?)
  7. Animals As Leaders
  8. Mastodon
  9. Scar Symmetry
  10. Aepoch (maybe?)
  11. Abbath (maybe?)
  12. Anabasis already won the best local release of 2019 already unless something changes my mind. If you supported the Syracuse band’s campaign, you would have received a digital download of their upcoming album “Of Conviction” due out officially in January.  If you want to grab a cd or some merchandise to help out the lads on their debut full length, go ahead and do so right here.
  13. Turning Virtue
  14. The Tao Of Davey K
  15. Fire Garden
  16. Continuum
  17. Desecravity
  18. Allegaeon
  19. Divinex
  20. Disentomb
  21. Fields Of Elysium (I hope!)
  22. Godeater
  23. Blasteroid
  24. A Novelist
  25. Contrarian
  26. The Zenith Passage
  27. Fractal Universe
  28. Organectomy
  29. Arkaik
  30. The Ocean
  31. Oblivion
  32. Devin Townsend
  33. Equipoise
  34. The Ritual Aura

Personal Favorite Music Industry Trends of 2018

  1. Increasing number of bands doing as much as they can independently. Record labels are becoming bigger blood suckers. Props to the increasing number of musicians going this route, also really great for more income coming back their way.
  2. More instrumental bands! I love seeing instrumental bands! Not every band needs a vocalist, or music needs a singer….the music can sing on its own.  Remember classical music? It was instrumental, then opera singers came along.  It’s just good to change it up….ya know, like Divinex or The Surrealist.
  3. The Artisan Era signing so many killer bands that are only strengthening their roster that has been a label since 2014.  A grassroots label run by guys in bands ON THAT LABEL there’s no suits involved….a label made by musicians, run by musicians, for musicians.  How can you not love the rise of The Artisan Era? OKAY, maybe if you don’t like or appreciate technical death metal and instrumental bands I guess I could see it.  How many did they add in 2018? Like 10 bands? But….10 GREAT BANDS.

Best TMR Moments of 2018

  1.  That wild voting race for the website’s May artist of the month….who remembers? And, who voted? That was fun!
  2. Getting a handful or more of EP, song and video premieres throughout the website’s first 10-ish months of being online.  Hard work pays off, promote yourself and your work….make connections.  I’m grateful for the friendships and opportunities I have been given in the short time Technical Music Review has been online.  I’m equally as humbled for all the music I have received through many sources. Being a musician and music freak I have learned of so many solid bands through this short journey.  And to boot, I also premiered a few playthroughs as well….the musician in me absolutely enjoyed them!
  3. Becoming the Prime Minster of Indonesia.  Not really, but seriously though their music scene is very killer and uncovered.  I discovered a few bands towards the end of the year from there and developing a growing interest in that country’s metal scene.  I’m buddy-buddy with a small record label from there and a band from said label.  It’s a tech driven country with plenty of death metal bands too.  Check out a few of their bands right here.

2018’S BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS

Yeah there are always letdowns it’s a big part of life.  Let me dive into some from 2018.

  1. Machine Head’s shitty album Catharsis.  This album was so bad, it forced two of it’s long time members to quit.  Now you’re talking about someone who has been a big fan of Machine Head since I got into them during the Ashes Of Empires era.  Besides The Burning Red and Supercharger I loved this band.  I’m more Conservative than anything, and even with their Liberal lyrics I still appreciate their emotion opinions and stellar musicianship.  I get it, most musicians are Democrats or Liberal to an extent.  Rob Flynn has had a solid career as a musician but the last few years have gotten bad and leading up to Catharsis (to me at least) was a totally different band.  It’s like his songwriting was uninspired and teenager like (random lyrics about sex, drug use, and not to mention bringing back nu metal to the band sound) for a band that has put out much deeper sets of lyrics.  I try to get in bed with the album, and every time I have to leave.  “Is There Anybody Out There?” was an absolutely awful song and a rant most likely about Phil Anselmo.  I had a bad feeling if their upcoming album was going to be like this song, it was going to be rough….and in my eyes I think it was.  I thought when Robb posted the acoustic set of “Bastards” I envisioned it as another rant and spur of the moment song venting frustration….I DID NOT EXPECT IT TO BE A MACHINE HEAD SONG! Voilatile is a good song musically, but when I heard he admitted he wrote the lyrics after the Charlotteville attacks was even more sketchy.  As soon as a big event happens, you decide to write song lyrics about it…..and bitch about politics again. How, original.  Let’s see if the band is done forever, or he can pull more rabbits out of his ass like he did for Ashes Of Empires and arguably the band’s greatest effort The Blackening. Oh, and the whole band costume thing is kinda gay…..like KISS gay.
  2. Threatin.  Yeah that shit was rough too.  Great for the guy he self booked and funded a European tour for his music, but feel bad for the poor bastards that temporarily took part in this shitshow.  Nobody bought the guy’s merchandise or even went to the shows.  I feel just as bad for the bands that opened up for the few shows Threatin played.  Just an absolute embarrassment all around.  To play devil’s advocate, it is pretty impressive logistically how the guy pulled this thing off financially and got artists to play his music (well for a few shows at least).  Disappointing to say the least but was there any stigma at all when he booked? Was it his fucked up masterplan that was to create a huge online presence (after he bought many Facebook likes) and promote himself? We won’t really know…or will we?
  3. Unique Leader Records and their fuckery.  COME AT ME BRO! It’s true, and their ever-growing laundry list of bands that have left the label is just insane.  They keep signing so many bands to the point they’re overloading their roster and also possibly ignoring bands.  Death metal made that label, modern metal bands are filling up their roster and the number of bands on the record label is sky rocketing unlike The Challenger.  With the unfortunate passing of label founder Erik Lindmark (Deeds of Flesh), other label coworkers took over the work in Erik’s absence.  It took them over a month to put some of their releases on Bandcamp, and kept making excuses (when it doesn’t take long) why they haven’t yet.  They recently signed another band, and I mentioned it again on their facebook announcement of another generic death core band.  They ignored and asked me if I listened to that band yet and said they should promote the bands on their label already instead of adding more.  They immediately took down their comment on their facebook page, trying to divert my attention from my comment and they failed….like they’re failing Erik who’s currently rolling over in his grave.  AND GET THIS…..they’re currently running a contest to buy one of their albums on their band camp website, and you’re then entered to WIN A CHANCE TO OWN THEIR ENTIRE LIBRARY OF MUSIC! Doesn’t that reek of even more desperation?  This shit is fishy as fuck metalheads. While they may house some great bands, shame on Unique Leader for their unprofessional fuckery and ignorance.  Shit like this is why more bands go independent.

Oubliette- The Passage

Oubliette cover art

 

Oubliette is releasing their second album “The Passage” July 13th.  The band’s sophomore effort is more mature and a collaboration with a full lineup rather than a solo effort of Mike Low.  Oubliette has a lineup finally and a triple guitar attack…..you should know what that means.  There is definitely a lot more melody this time around that is a beautiful touch to Oubliette’s blackened metal attack.

The band is an enjoyable change in pace in comparison to the other great bands on their record label The Artisan Era (which is fairly dominated by technical death metal so far).  The album concept is a sad and depressing theme of struggle, and at many points pleases a hardcore Opeth fan like myself.

I have to say “The Passage” is a much more experimental album compared to their debut album “Apparitions” which was a tad bit more straightforward.   I like the fact it’s a concept album and is done well.  You can really feel the character’s struggle in certain points of the songs the further the album progresses.  The band further explains the album, lyrics, theme and more right here.

“The Passage” definitely exceeded my expectations after a nice debut album from the crew.  It’s a heartfelt and emotional album that carries on right from the start to the last second.  This somber and melodic trip makes you wonder how great the third album will be……only time will tell.

The band is playing a show the day of the album release on July 13th at Little Harpeth Brewing in Nashville, Tennessee. If you live near there, don’t wait and purchase your tickets along with the album too!

http://smarturl.it/OUBLIETTE-MERCH
http://smarturl.it/OUBLIETTE-PASSAGE

Oubliette – The Passage 
1. A Pale Innocence
2. The Curse
3. Solitude
4. Elegy
5. Emptiness
6. The Raven’s Lullaby
7. Barren
8. The Passage

Emily Low – vocals
Mike Low (INFERI) – guitar
Todd Harris (BATTLE PATH) – guitar, backing vocals
Andrew Wampler (OPHIUCHUS) – guitar
James Turk (ENFOLD DARKNESS) – bass
Greg Vance (ENFOLD DARKNESS) – drums

www.facebook.com/oubliettemetal
www.oubliette.bandcamp.com
www.theartisanera.com
www.theartisanerastore.com
https://theartisanera.bandcamp.com/

 

 

Oubliette band photo (1)

Oubliette June 2018 Interview

Oubliette band photo (1)

 

Blackened Death Metallers Oubliette are releasing their second full length in a few weeks. I digitally sat down with the band members concerning their upcoming album “The Passage” out in a few weeks next month, their inspirations, love for music, and a bunch of random related and unrelated questions discovering the band and their personality.  I was a fan of their debut album, but gonna have to say the title track they released recently makes it look like a joke.  It sounds like the band’s writing has dramatically evolved and the rest of the extreme metal world should look the fuck out (that goes for the Artisan Era label in general!).

I really got into this band more with the recent release, and glad this album is getting put out.  Apparitions was a raw and heavy debut album, The Passage seems like it is going to be a totally different monster. After seeing their answers to my questions, I really like Oubliette even more. Hope everyone reading enjoys the conversation!

Emily Low – vocals
Mike Low – guitar
Todd Harris – guitar
Andrew Wampler – guitar
James Turk – bass
Greg Vance – drums

TMR: What made you guys get into extreme metal and what do you like most about it?

Mike: I guess the first rock bands I started listening to were bands like Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, then some friends introduced me to Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura, and Pantera, which were kind of my top 4 for a while. I wanted to see what else was out there so I randomly bought some CDs when I had my first job. I got Cannibal Corpse “Bloodthirst,”  Decapitated “Winds of Creation,” and some other stuff. That was my first dive into the truly extreme metal and it just went on from there. It’s an indescribable attraction… the larger-than-life sound, the feeling that you are watching a movie with just your ears, the endless possibilities of what can be created. 

Greg: From a young age, I dealt with some childhood trauma and struggled to find outlets. I was bullied in school, and was essentially looking for some type of outlet. I had gotten into some of the darker 60’s and 70’s music my dad listened to, The Doors, Led Zeppelin etc, and from there, discovered Metallica and some of the 90’s mainstream metal before discovering Cannibal Corpse in a Jim Carrey movie. From there, I decided to mow lawns and save up for piecing together a drum kit to take aggression out. After playing for a few years, I wanted to push myself more and more into the extreme side, enter the love of death and black metal.

Todd: I got into extreme metal many years back when I discovered bands like Cannibal Corpse, Carcass and Deicide. Shortly after that, I got turned onto Emperor and Enslaved and started to develop an affinity for black metal. I started playing death metal and doom metal in my mid 20’s and that developed into playing more black metal inspired music. 

Emily: I randomly bought a couple of CDs because I liked the album covers, which happened to be Dissection and Death. The first moment I listened to those, I wanted more! Dissection still happens to be one of our biggest influences today. 

TMR: How was the triple guitar attack influenced?

Mike: I’ve always loved melodeath where there is a rhythm part, a melody, and a harmony. This has been a big part of the writing for Apparitions, back when I had only planned on it being a studio project. Whenever we decided to put together a live lineup after that album came out, I realized that the songs would be expressed better if we had three guitars so that we could cover all of the harmonized parts happening in the music. I feel like I might be starting to stray away from that a tiny bit and writing more riffs where everyone is playing something completely different to make up something massive, instead of something based all around the same idea. 

TMR: How does the band feel The Passage is different from your debut album Apparitions?

Mike:  I think it has matured musically and is more focused.

Andrew: It feels different playing songs between the two albums.  I enjoy both, but playing Apparitions is about trying to play like Mike, which can be tough on a couple songs because he has a very wide finger span.  The Passage was written with this group of musicians in mind and each of the guitar parts plays to our strengths.  We really click in rehearsals.  These songs were meant to be played live.

Todd: I’m extremely pleased with the progression from Apparitions to The Passage. I feel like there’s been growth since the last album musically and I know that everyone wants to continue to expand on our sound. I definitely feel like we work well together as writers and are quite willing to try things that we have yet to explore. I look forward to continuing that progression. 

Emily: I feel like it’s different in the sense that Apparitions was just me and Mike putting it together musically and lyrically,  but with The Passage we had more people involved. I feel like it still has the sound we were going for originally but now we have some outside input. Also, Apparitions was more based on personal experiences whereas The Passage was a story we created. 

Oubliette cover art

 

TMR: Did you guys do anything differently recording wise or writing wise for The Passage?

Mike: I wrote nearly all of the music for Apparitions myself. For The Passage, I had some input from the other guys. Most of it was based off of ideas that I already had, but we did get to sit down in the same room and bounce ideas off of each other, so that was great. I didn’t really contribute a whole lot lyrically this time, but did help to shape the story a bit. Recording-wise, it was still more or less the same, DIY. 

Greg: As the new drummer for this record, I felt relieved to be able to bring in a fresh perspective into the percussive aspects of the band, that shows a different side to my playing with Enfold Darkness. This record felt very close to all of us, because we would all bounce ideas off of each other, sometimes over a couple of IPA’s and a fire in Mike and Emily’s back yard. I love the first release and am excited to be a part of a group with dedicated, talented musicians, who are also my best friends.

TMR: I didn’t even know your vocalist was female until recently! I’m a big abnormality fan, and also dig your chance to die and sisters of suffocation. I don’t think gender should be a big deal at all with the rise of the “female fronted” label. It’s crap to me, at least. To a metalhead, it’s cool to see females do what they want musically that isn’t a pop band or a folk artist for a change! More females in death metal! What do you think of the “label”? 

Mike: We prefer not to cling to that label as to not skew one’s opinion of the music. 

Emily: From the very beginning, I never wanted to be promoted as a female fronted band because there should be no difference. I would rather people enjoy the music for what it is and what gender created it. 

TMR: What do you guys think of the experimentation in death metal lately? I really dig the dissonance, synth, keys, strings, flute and other wild ideas some bands have had like Coma Cluster Void, Voidthrone, Burial In The Sky and Dischordia.

Mike: It’s not my forte, but I do like some of the off-the-wall bands like Dodecahedron, Oranssi Pazuzu, and Igorrr to name a few. 

Todd: In all for genre pushing. I think it keeps things fresh. If a genre doesn’t grow, it eventually stagnates. I always like to hear something new and I have a penchant for the avant-garde, so I’m all for it. 

TMR: What shows does Oubliette have planned for the upcoming future?

Mike: We’ve got an album release show in Nashville in mid-July, then we’re leaving to play at Metaldays in Slovenia the following week. We are working on some shows within our region later in the year.

TMR: How did you guys get into music and learn your craft?

Mike: My parents bought me an acoustic guitar at a flea market when I was 9. I took lessons for a short while, but have mostly been self taught. I downloaded a lot of guitar tabs back in the day and also did a lot of learning by ear. 

Andrew:  I played drums in middle school but 1st picked up a guitar at 13.  I was in garage bands in high school and studied music in college.  I also started teaching guitar at 18 and still do to this day.

Greg: As someone who never could afford to take steady lessons, my approach was always to play with feeling, and to take whatever was on my mind and put it behind the drums. It’s a blessing and a curse, because I have missed out on a lot of fundamentals, but I’ve also been able to take a unique approach and do what feels natural to me. I don’t think music is something you can force and yield something truly unique.

Todd: I picked up Guitar at 14 and cut my teeth on Black Sabbath and Nirvana records starting out. I’ve played all sorts of music over the years, but I feel most at home playing extreme metal. I feel it allows you to be a touch more creative and take more chances. 

Emily: I grew up in a musical family. Both of my parents played instruments. I learned to read music at a young age, played clarinet and sang in choir throughout middle and high school. Growing up, my family and I would listen to classical and Celtic music all the time, which is why we incorporate some clean vocals in our songs. 

TMR: What is it like to be Oubliette for a day? 

Mike: I cook for a caterer/meal prep service during the day, and by night I’m doing whatever band or label things I need to do for that day. It could be mixing, practicing, planning out releases, or a plethora of other things.

TMR: Who would you love to play with on any given day that you haven’t been on a bill with yet?

Mike: Moonsorrow

Andrew: Emperor

Greg: Opeth

Todd: Emperor

Emily: Insomnium, not that they are my favorite band but I think a lot of their fans would like our music. They have had a lot of influence on the direction we’ve taken with Oubliette.

TMR: What is your dream venue to play at?

Mike: In a cave

Andrew:  Tough question.  I’d like to bring the show to a nice theater sometime.  Outer space would be cool too.

Greg: An old theater, with a theatrical show.

TMR: What does everything like to do outside of the band? Hobbies or activities?

Mike: I co-own the label we are on, The Artisan Era. I record and mix bands too, some on the label and some are local. 

Greg: I am a chef, a stock market trader, and also enjoy doing a lot of activities outdoors. I am also extremely nerdy when it comes to taking on new activities and having them consume me from time to time.

Emily: I love being outdoors, hiking, and spending time with our dogs and cat. I also work two jobs and run a promotion company in Nashville.

TMR: Favorite foods and drinks?

Mike: Beer, hummus, and Mexican food in general

Andrew:  Dr. Pepper, sandwiches, spicy stuff, festival food. 

Todd: Pizza, beer, Mexican food

Greg: Asian food, southern comfort food.

Emily: Mexican, Asian, beer

TMR: What album is everyone looking forward to this year? And any favorites that are released?

Mike: I’ve been jamming the hell out of Uada and Gruesome. 

Andrew: So far been listening to the new Judas Priest record Firepower alot.

Todd: The Secret’s new ep 

Greg: Skull Fist

TMR: What’s the meaning behind the artwork and lyrics of the passage? Any sort of concept?

Mike: The Passage is indeed a concept album. It’s a story we created based in Victorian times. A family of three moves into a house built upon a land that had long been cursed. Soon after, the baby falls ill and passes away. While the parents are both extremely distraught, the mother really becomes hysterical and falls into a deep depression. She begins feeling like her child is calling for her to join in death, so she takes her own life. In the last song, “The Passage,” she realizes it was an illusion and that they will never be reunited. 

TMR: Link anything here you guys do outside of the band whether it’s musical or not. 

Mike: 

theartisanera.com

facebook.com/Inferimetal

Andrew:

facebook.com/OphiuchusTN

Todd:

facebook.com/battlepathdoom

Greg:

facebook.com/enfolddarkness

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/oubliettemetal/