Sloppy Seconds Vol 8: Harrowing Holidays

Well, here we are in a brand spanking New Year, and yeah the holidays are great to visit with your family and friends and whatever, but more importantly you get time to hit up those record stores and enjoy the Boxing Day sales that they don’t have. Despite visiting a plethora of stores there wasn’t a ton that tickled my fancy, but did I find anything good? Let’s find out.

Archgoat – The Aeon of the Angelslaying Darkness (2010, Debemur Morti Productions)
White on black artwork with a red logo? Yup, it’s Archgoat, and Debemur Morti Productions went all out with this 20th anniversary compilation. “The Aeon of the Angelslaying Darkness” is housed in a beautiful 12”x12” digibook with 20 pages of blood-spattered interviews, flyers and photos from throughout their two phases of existence. Just look at this shit:

Yeah, it’s fucking gorgeous. The interior back cover holds two CDs crammed with 40 tracks of Archgoat; the first disc features their 1991 demo “Jesus Spawn,” six tracks from their unreleased 1993 LP “Hymn to Darkness,” the “Angelcut (Tales of Desecration)” EP, and three tracks taken from their first two albums. Although most people will be familiar with the EP and album tracks, the demo and unreleased LP tracks are considerably scarcer and give a rare look into Archgoat’s first chapter. Every bit as dirty, gritty and savage as you would expect, this is essential stuff for any Archgoat devotee. The second disc has eighteen tracks taken from three live shows spanning from 2005 to 2009. Never had a chance to see Archgoat live? Although no recording can fully substitute bearing witness yourself, these performances don’t disappoint and Archgoat’s unfiltered fury comes blowing out your speakers at full force. Yes, this is a glorious compendium of Archgoat black gold and is truly magnificent to behold.

Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse (2018, Century Media Records)
Oh, Watain. The once golden child of black metal that could do no wrong, they slowly started slipping into the mainstream until “The Wild Hunt” completely blew their fanbase apart. “Trident Wolf Eclipse” is a welcome return to the style they played on their earlier albums; you won’t find the fist-pumping anthems like ‘Stellarvore’ or ‘Sworn to the Dark’ here but instead the galloping, flailing intensity from “Rabid Death’s Curse” that rarely takes a break. “Trident Wolf Eclipse” might be the shift backwards that Watain need to lure back some of their older fans that jumped ship over the last few albums, but although the style and speed are here, it lacks the spirit its predecessors had. Although there are a few tracks that tickle your ears (‘Ultra (Pandemonic)’ has a wicked galloping section), there aren’t a ton of passages that grab you by the balls the way ‘On Horns Impaled’ or ‘Black Salvation’ did back in the day. So while it’s good to see Watain getting back on track, they still have some work to do.

Hellhammer – Satanic Rites (2000?, Gulliver Smith Records / Hellhammer Maniac Records)
Well shit, we already know this legendary demo rules (if you are a false, don’t entry) and it’s been officially reissued, so all we really have to talk about is this zany bootleg’s dubious design decisions. First; goddamn, that cover art. I’m not sure it necessarily represents the demo well, it’s too clean, but it’s fucking great. It looks like something that could’ve been drawn by Michael Whelan and I wish they had included the artist’s name somewhere on this, but that’s asking a lot from a bootleg. If anyone knows where this artwork comes from, drop me a line.

There’s no booklet so let’s have a look at the back. Starting with this gem of a statement:

This record is for Hellhammer-Maniacs only. If you are not, don’t try to get one.

Oh man, I love elitist declarations on black metal releases. Judas Iscariot was the best for these and Armagedda had a pretty good one on their debut, but this one’s just awesome. We do realize that this would only be read by one who is holding the CD, and thus already successfully obtained it, right? “Oh shit, I like Hellhammer but I don’t think I’m a maniac.” What are they expected to do at that point? Toss it? Relinquish it to someone of higher cult status? Amazing. I love it. The track list is pretty accurate, except for the hilarious typo ‘The Third of the Stormy.’ Now, a Hellhammer release needs to be adorned with appropriately blasphemous artwork, so let’s throw on a pair of… stars of David? Whoops. I mean, maybe they were trying to refer to some kind of evil ZOG, but I think they just need to count the number of points on those stars next time. Lastly, and I guess this is a minor point to pick on, but the recording information says that this was recorded live in December 1983. The date is right, but this certainly isn’t a concert recording and is a little misleading. Maybe they meant to say live in studio? Ehh, it doesn’t matter. Anyways, this is an amusing relic from a bygone era when bootlegs were the only ways to get certain recordings. It’s all fun and games but remember to support the artists, kids.

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