Columns, Label Introductions, News

Cirsium Kollektivet (Label Introduction)

Label: Cirsium Kollektivet
Genres:Black Metal, Experimental
Active since:2015

“Cirsium Kollektivet is an underground label since 2015. Rooted in, but not confined to, Black metal on dead analogue Formats. CK is a vessel for a variety of projects by a handful of musicians. Throughout many different monikers they explore raw music with an emphasis to the weird and eccentric.”

Cirsium Kollektivet

When scoping the underground scene for the latest murmurs that echoe from contemporary conjurations, it is never possible to flee from shifting major attention. Thus, you tend to follow the labels that are mentioned among your friends, within your musical bubble or right on top of possible research. Within the spheres of Black Metal, though, it has still remained that not being overtly present in social media or on other music-related platforms is often preferred. Before we started this blog, I might have disliked this decision because it becomes way more difficult to find access to these offerings. However, after years of browsing the massive output that is available in the niche of heavy music alone, I started to find a favor for those bands, labels or musicians that maneuver in the depths of the underground.

This is most certainly also the case when it comes to the label that will find our attention in this Label Introduction. Not being able to be found on bandcamp itself, I was quite mindblown when I was made aware of Black Metal and Experimental underground label Cirsium Kollektivet and the output it brings forth. An early encounter with this label immediately included their self-introducing flyer to the right that broadcasts the slogan “Kunst kommt von Kotzen” (Art comes from barfing – it couldn’t sound more welcoming) that instantly caught my attention. Having awaited intensely raw and unpolished Black Metal from the visuals of the label alone, I was not at all disappointed.

Cirsium Kollektivet encompasses an already quite large back catalogue that will indulge the ears of any underground Black Metal enthusiast. Going by the statement of “spewing bile into the underground since 2015” I might assume that some of the readers can already guess where we’re heading. For the rather purist Black Metal followers, there are quite a lot of releases that range from fiercely aggressive Black Metal towards highly ambient and mesmerizing tones. Apart from that, some spots among the releases of Cirsium Kollektivet are also occupied by artists that showcase a strong interest in experimentation.

Cirsium Kollektivet Releases

Maurda – Cultus Brachypter

If you want your brief and rough introduction into the spheres of what you might expect from releases via Cirsium Kollektivet, you’re probably going strong when entering with Maurda’s latest release Cultus Brachypter. After just a few seconds of thinking you might be listening to Punk-infused Black Metal, the intensely raw production of this release furiously whirls piercing guitars at you, convincing you differently and sawing off the rest of you with crashing drums. Moving somewhere in between Black and Death Metal and to a certain extent slightly pointing at Death Metal renegades Black Curse, the sound on this EP is not intended to take a halt at any moment. This reconnects with the initially assumed Punk element, though, since the vigorous energy that is delivered from front to back might be associated with a groundwork that finds its roots here. No actual melodies, no gimmicks, no trend, just straightforward and in your face Black Metal.

The final track “Sporensonne” marks the longest track on this EP. Here, the songwriting slightly alters and moves a little further towards less steamrolling and more unfolding Black Metal, thus showcasing that versatile songwriting skills are present as well. The  intimidating energy the first five tracks showcase diminishes and Doom sequences enter the arrangements. While still moving back and forth between slower sequences and the energy that has been brought across already, the arrangement certainly is more complex and will get you interested in what is yet to come from this still quite young band.

Laudanum – III

If you came here for the atmosphere, you might stay for Laudanum. Differing a lot from the style that Maurda showcases, the focus on III is set on the construction of soundscapes that grasp an aesthetic listening experience. The sound seeks a production that also moves within the spheres of rawer Black Metal, yet the tone differs a lot and somewhat reminds of early Paysage d’Hiver (the cover might be alluding, too, though). The atmosphere that is captured certainly points at references of Depressive Suicidal Black Metal, yet the vocals do not fully dive into this genre. The soundscape that is conveyed rather captivates with a mesmerizing spirit. Although it is not exactly possible to spot a landscape when casting a glance at the cover of this EP, the frosty open riffing that builds its foundation immediately casts you into the endless widths of snow-white landscapes.

On “II” the slower drums that underline the introductory riff then makes it quite clear that we are moving towards the elements of DSBM while still upholding the scope of raw Black Metal. The further the listener moves into this EP, the more furious the overall tone that is delivered grows.

Tierhirn – Im Schoße der Vettel Natur

The description of this release immediately caught my attention when postulating that this is “whisky-drenched” music primarily played on selfmade instruments. The first track “Homo sapiens Scheißdreck” introduces the listener to the odd sound that can be expected on this EP. Especially the percussive elements on this track already gave me Tom Waits“Swordfishtrombones” vibes and this bold guess was massively underlined with “In Beton und Natur gefangen.” What a sound that crashes upon you. Again, the percussive background still reminds of “Swordfishtrombones” or several sounds off the Orphans trilogy of Tom Waits. The guitar that is added now feels as if it is strongly influenced by Waits“Hoist that Rag” off his seminal Real Gone album. You just cherrypick your most favorite Tom Waits elements, put them all together, push it through the chipper and spice it up with distorted and Extreme Metal elements. I could almost tell that one of the riffs on this track plays an exact sequence of notes that reminds of the solo on “Hoist that Rag” just for a moment. Man, I love this.

During the further progression of this EP, the sound then explores numerous different tones, still consistently carrying that Orphans explorative soundscape yet to a certain extent also bringing in sonical allusions that are reminiscent of Gothic traits that are also in strong connection with folk sounds before it moves towards straightforward folk sound on “Sauf ich Whisky.” The references are pretty damn wide and the artists involved on this release show that they do just whatever they want to do, bringing forth a highly individual sound.

DRUX – Vyndeleir

When you think of the second wave of black metal, there are two bands that were absolutely essential to this era. Darkthrone and Mayhem. The musical zeitgeist can be found in bands from time to time. DRUX from Sweden is definitely one of them. Their EP Vyndeleir contains two songs that function like the ying and yang of black metal.

“Vendeleth” sounds like a track that could have come straight off Mayhem’s Deathcrush classic. It’s raw, noisy and sounds like a raging thunderstorm. The organic sound immediately transports you back to the 90s.

Meanwhile, the second song “Hylym keir” features much more melodic parts, at least as far as the riffing is concerned. The tempo of the drums is also turned down considerably. This makes the beat seem very basic in some places, which fits in perfectly with the black metal aspect. Not many gimmicks, just raw and right in your face.

[Max Transcended]

Gestank – Rathymns

With a band name like Gestank, the first thing you might expect is a German-speaking punk band. So, I was all the more surprised when I heard the first notes of the Rathymns EP.

Uncompromising black metal from Sweden. The raw sound and the echoing vocals immediately create a very oppressive first impression (in a positive way). With four very strong tracks, Gestank succeeds in creating a mixture of depressive atmosphere and hellish sounds.

Anyone who wants to hear the noise of inner torment will get their money’s worth. As if you were vomiting all your pain and suffering directly into hell. You soon realize how fitting the band’s name actually is. “Nothing left but this all-consuming scorn” is the highlight of the EP for me. Fans of Vidargängr or Youna should definitely check out Gestank. It will be worth it. Rarely have I encountered such a raw and diabolical sound as with this band.

[Max Transcended]

Gristårar – Dissecting Your Reality

Even after its long history, black metal can still provide a few surprises. A good example of this is the band Gristårar. Their demo Dissecting Your Reality proves this in an impressive way. It sounds like Swedish black metal, but at the same time it shows quite some creative mix with a mystical atmosphere. The vocal parts in particular are impressive.

At the beginning I wouldn’t have expected to hear clean vocals on this demo. A successful surprise, which clearly shows how versatile black metal and its influences can be. Musically, it seems much more complex than many other bands in the genre. You could almost say that Gristårar incorporate progressive influences into their music. A more than interesting release.

[Max Transcended]

Animo Aeger – KotzeAdel

Animo Aeger are probably one of the craziest black metal bands I’ve ever heard. Their third album KotzeAdel is pure chaos. Melodic influences meet completely experimental songwriting, which I have never heard from any band before. The vocals are reminiscent of a true inferno. The different styles seem like a goblin group gone wild. Every time you think you’ve understood a song, Animo Aeger‘s next crazy idea throws me off track. However, this can be seen as a positive, I haven’t had so much fun with a black metal release for a long time. The influences range from punk to psychedelic or doom metal. Despite all this variety of characteristics, the band manages to create an atmospheric sound. If this is what hell sounds like, then I would like to visit this place thanks to Animo Aeger. KotzeAdel is a great album that is bursting with interesting ideas.

[Max Transcended]

Vrångbild – Crystalline Veil

If you’re seeking a dark yet captivating musical journey, then Crystalline Veil by Vrångbild is an absolute must-listen. This EP was released on April 19, 2016, presenting an impressive one-man Black Metal project hailing from Västra Götaland, Sweden.

The release features two epic tracks “Mephedrone” and “Like Cold Fire.” Together, these pieces offer a unique blend of atmospheric Black Metal with Doom and Psychedelic influences, spanning over 27 minutes in total duration.

“Mephedrone” starts off with ambient and psychedelic soundscapes creating a mystic yet occult atmosphere. Black Metal typical vocals penetrate the dark ambience, while psychedelic guitar effects and ambient elements are skillfully woven into the overall sound. The song alternates between psychedelic doom passages and raging Black Metal parts, eventually culminating in a soothing ambient section.

“Like Cold Fire” begins similarly atmospheric, with the typical icy Black Metal guitar sound and a mid-tempo pace. However, the music here also erupts into a furious Black Metal frenzy, cleverly alternating with the doom-laden passages. Throughout, the sound remains consistently raw, cold, and dark, characteristic of Vrångbild’s Black Metal style. The EP showcasing the creative brilliance of a one-man project exploring the boundaries of Black Metal. If you’re ready to delve into the depths of Black Metal, then “Crystalline Veil” by Vrångbild is definitely worth your attention.

[Steven Transcended]

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