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Smoke – “Het Laatste Oordeel” – [Prison Tatt Records]


The Netherlands’ Smoke have now split up, but not before putting out ten releases of improvised, dissonant black metal. This 2013 single-sided LP (we have number 35/100) is the guitar-drums duo’s swan song. Three unforgiving slabs, tracking continuously, of lo-fi, unmelodic black metal noise dysphoria drawn from rehearsals recorded in 2012. Despite the implicit intent of making alienating music, both these musicians sound extremely proficient at what they do. The ace drums are either having a blastbeat heartattack or pounding along in the thrall of doom and depression, while the heavily effected guitar playing is surprisingly versatile, drawing out quasi-familiar tremolo parts before suddenly diverting into frantic mathematics or swells of feedback. Something sounds like wind on the third piece. All this is punctuated by half-buried growls, shrieks, incantations and the occasional Urfaustesque clean vocal. It’s a rotten Transylvania atmosphere which maybe reminded me of stuff I’ve heard from Dead Reptile Shrine, Brobdingnagian, Pandiscordian Necrogenesis and some of Les Legions Noires’ less musical cabals (such as Vermyapre Kommando). Smoke seem to be associated with a Dutch Black Metal Cult called the Black Hermetic Order. I’d love to hear some of the other involved projects. I’ve often wondered why there isn’t more improvised metal– i suppose it’s a slippery slope, but it works here. Not for the faint of heart though.

  • Reviewed by Lord Gravestench on March 3, 2014 at 3:07 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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