Oberdada's Guide to Obscure Metal

Part IV: Olde Favourites Revisited

Here's a bunch of bands I discovered around 2017 and which I have more recently revisited. These are mostly described as avant-garde or experimental metal. My impression by now is that one is much more likely to stumble upon a non-avant-garde, not so experimental metal band among the many new ones that insist on crossing the threshold into existence.

Iraqi Death Police

Old South African stuff (from around 2014). Still valid, albeit of varying quality.


Punk in the spirit. Enjoy in small servings.

Lux Occulta

Yes, but is it metal? Their very last track released in 2014 begins with a Polish choir, goes on with a disco beat, mixes in layers upon layers of guitars in a polytonal weft. They are all over the place, melancholy pop for a large part, and never uninteresting. Cello, accordion, trumpet, and other acoustic instruments make brief appearances, Polish and French vocals are mixed, folk music meets contemporary music and jazz, all the time.


One man band with a huge catalogue. Bland ambient fluff recently, mayby go for some earlier album.


Well, one of at least nine bands with that name, not to count a few who have some additional words in their name. This one is from UK and probably the only one to wield a theremin. Nothing new from them since their 2014 album. Dense, slow, and messy.


The music, whatever genre it belongs to (slow ambient psychedelic pop something?), is nothing remarkable really. It is for the videos that Necrocock should be recognised. Eschewing the action packed clichés, his videos are often at once awkward and, it seems, generously personal.


This is primitive, the way house demolition and road construction is. The ground is shaking. This Estonian duo is absolutely refreshing.

Porky Vagina

They like pigs. Nothing wrong about that, but their irony gets tiresome.


Best remembered for their vocalist hiding in a grandfather clock onstage. Mystically blurred soundscapes.


Known for having recorded the longest track in metal ... or something. Unfortunately, I have only been able to find a three minute snippet from their whole oeuvre. Why isn't there more crossovers to free improvisation? Its musical language should not be inimical to the setting of a metal instrumentation. Although here, they throw in a good deal of violin and synth.

Quercus: Verferum (2019)

Stylish use of pipe organ is rare in metal, it may well be limited to the singular case of this band. Not sure where and how they record it, since the long T_60 of most churches doesn't help instrumental ensembles who struggle hearing each other over the distances. Quercus are not over-indulgent with reverb. Slow-paced and leaving space in time and register, their tracks approach the length of symphonic movements. Although J.S. Bach is credited as their great inspiration, no direct quotations or stylistic borrowings are apparent.

Demimonde: Cygnus Odyssey (2016)

Overload by bizarre sound combinations (sounds by themselves are almost never bizarre), snoring, electronic sounds, radio interference, choirs, things hard to identify and classify, overlayered on the intense riffs and distinct drums. Nothing appears to have been released after Cygnus.


What a pity that there is only one EP from 2012. They know how to play slowly and leave space if the song requires it. More often they engage in complex rhythms and jagged sequences. Brootal death jazz at its best.

Svet Kant

Able of sweet chant, much like the Beach Boys although impossible to confuse with them, as well as a more traditional metal sound. Their previous album must have appealed to me for a fine inclusion of acoustic instruments, as I recall it. The new one from 2022 consists of three long tracks (five minutes feels long in this context) that contrast the sweet and the ugly singing.

The downspiral to hell

I had earlier taken note of this band for their productions, and maybe that still remains their main quality. Inspired by "some of the strangest, most disturbing and dark paintings ever created," they say.

The Dr. Orphyus Project

What's the right number of trombones in a metal orchestra? At leat one, and their very rare overdubs serve them well. There's jazz when they insist on it, otherwise it's as metal as the brass itself. Weird combination for sure, but they aren't cheating, it's all seriously integrated. They have stuck around and have a new album coming up, including a "cover of a cover" of Midnight in Moscow.

Spastic Ink

Fusion, closer in spirit to jazz or some things by Zappa, and soundwise approaching metal, but not too much. This antiquarian band, dating from the late 1990's, is still worth the acquaintance. There is a suite that dubs a Disney animation, that is, the guitar pitch-follows the dialogue. It's skillfully done, if you can suffer watching a wild hare. The later album Ink Compatible is more recommended listening. Best enjoyed when they don't sing, which is most of the time.

The Outer RIM

Large collective who collaborate almost along the principles of Corps Exquis, that is, the members compose sections independently which are then assembled by one of them. The sections being quite long the result is a rather more like a medley of contrasting styles than the intense cut-up style of Naked City.


One of the twenty tormentors, this band from Hungary is for all ages. Recipe Ferrum! 777 is a bit hard to find on the web, though it's been released on CD. The intro begins with some melodic hardrock and then cuts to a sample that could have been Stravinskij, though it probably isn't, and then continues as if nothing happened with some waltz and a punk dialogue in childish falsetto contrasted with growl. Another track features an ocarina and the blowing of bubbles in water in an otherwise rather regular pop track with demented vocals.

Tribunal: Carte XD

Let's admit it: The flexatone is missing in too much of todays and yesterday's metal. Not so with Tribu Anal, although they use it a bit sparingly.

Le présent programme contient des jeux de mots, des blagues nulles, le champ lexical de l’immaturité, des traces de deuxième et troisième degrés ainsi que toutes sortes d’autres choses de mauvais goût.

Word plays such as Philozoophilie Diabrocolique or Trve Kanadian Blague Métal and instruments such as Batterie et casseroles, or Cordes et manche de balais; stupidities with the right sophistication, or lack of it. They don't even mind throwing in some disco-funky rhythm guitar in the rock'n'roll.

Doomeastvan: 'Tis We (2014)

Slow long tracks with a broad sound canvas, sometimes withdrawn and ambient, other times upbeat. the first track has some fantastic chevrotté vocal in the end. They're not always weird, not even for the most part, but seem to know what they are doing.

Harmony Bay

A must hear from Czechia, if Mr. Bungle was a bit too tidy for you. Cubist fragments of post-Webern studies sprinkled with very cheesy synths in a kind of jazz fusion non-framework. Every other track is some kind of poetry recital, which I imagine tells some hilariously surreal story, but I really have no clue.


This is one of those extremely rare bands of any metal subgenre that engage entirely in free improvisation. Slow, mellow-harsh soundscapes.


Two guys with a serious fascination with serial killers. And no, thanks for asking, but "serial" does not refer to twelve-tone music. The iterated drum beats are just a notch below audio frequencies. At rare moments when the gutturalities, guitar chewing & squealing and drumming blend into a texture it's like some kind of kitchen machine, a meat grinder probably.

Go Blank After Death: I saw your daddy

Two vocalist growlers: bass and countertenor, the latter more like a cat in pain. The recording is intimate, like sitting in a small cardboard box together with the band. It's crude and intense, all songs are under two minutes. This release from 2018 is the only one to date.

Abbey ov Thelema

Disgruntled gentlemen with long metaphysics-laden titles. Not that their music is hard to describe, but doing so might easily mischaracterise it. Definitely noisy. Frenzied the same way as the most intense improvised music (think Brötzman with his saxophone taken away). Nevertheless, it is very structured with cunning harmony and écriture worthy of any orchestral composer. In one track there is a long ritardando passage, a device very rarely used in any variety of popular music.


They can be laidback in groovy blues-like songs or cheerful in funky traditional mediterranean folk music situations, that may break up into a hint of jazz or why not a touch of Ship Arriving too Late to Save a Drowning Witch. The second album, their last one, is perhaps better produced, but the first one has many gems, such as The bottle of lie.

Apocryphal Voice

When they engage in intricate irregularities they do it like few others, more organically. They also come to their right in slowly built up long songs.


Of course, there's never enough real metal instruments in most metal bands. The traditional percussion section of this Japanese band remedies it. Their sound is subtly different from anything else, sometimes distinctly different. And good news: they're still around and very much active! Recently they released a sparkling live album.


Brazilian dada metal, whatever that might be. Their only release is an album from 2016. Quite enjoyable when they stray away from the habitual metal to dabble in reggae and whatnot, which happens only in brief glimpses.

Chapeau: Captive Arrows

This Canadian artist has kept it going since 1999 and is still at it. From my previous dive into the catalogue I remember it as noise, on the harsh side, but the most recent album Captive Arrows (2020) is definitely not that. Nor is it metal by any stretch of definition. There are soundscapes, refined subtle effects of swirling sounds in the wide stereo field, melancholy melodic lines, even if they happen to be mechanically performed and yes, sometimes that noise sneaks up on you and you don't know how it entered. Nothing overstated, yet there is a persistent enigmatic quality to it.


Let's begin with the new one. Dissonant? Yes, such as consistently riffing on tritones on the two lowest strings. Sometimes their sequenced motifs (in the sense of transposing and repeating) seem to recall Romanticism, Mussorgsky perhaps. The writing is not dazzlingly technical and fast, but intriguingly clever. A decrescendo in the middle of a song, only to be abruptly stabbed off. The Devil thrives in the details, such as the isolated string scraping that briefly interrupts the dense wall of dissonance. Within their coherent stylistic confines the material is quite varied.

The EP is muddier and frenzier. Where they already excel is in sound montages where some processed recordings shine through the harsh, trebble-saturated mix. Their first album, however, is as quirky as the last one, in its exquisitely bass-heavy mix. They have been compared to the next band:

Deathspell Omega

Legendary, long existing band that never plays live and gives few interviews. Too many albums to list, I may have heard about half of them. Their dissonances are, as always is the case in metal, passed through so much distortion that a wall of almost-noise results. I think those who enjoy it might find more resistance in the atonal works of Webern or Schönberg, where the dissonances are laid bare and there is no aggressive beat or phrases on repeat. Sometimes Deathspell Omega frame their basically rock-based playing with pompous choirs or acoustic instruments in the wake of Carl Orff, if not quite as bad taste. With several ten minute tracks they don't mind taking on the big format.


Metal Review, Part II

Metal Review, Part III