Canadian Black / Death Metal insurgents Nuclearhammer return to the frontline after an-almost-decade-long ceasefire with ‘Xaos Tenawas – Demo MMXXIII’, the band’s first new recorded material since 2014’s ferocious full-length offensive ‘Serpentine Hermetic Lucifer’. According to the old school sticker mercilessly adorning the front of the record’s outer sleeve, the crude onslaughts presented hereon will appear in their full glory on the forthcoming final Nuclearhammer LP, ‘Xaos Void’.

A stopgap release then? Anything but, actually. To my battered ears, this constitutes near-perfect black hole barbarity. It’s raw and chaotic and primitive, a putrid emission from the deepest, most impenetrable void, seething with abyssal, archonic,analog immensity, flourishes of cold otherworldly noise enhancing the overbearing, overwhelming sense of cosmic, existential dread and apocalyptic fury. Yes, this one is going to make your day.

Authentic Black Metal is imbued with an energy and aura that segregates it from the endless sea of same-sounding spiritless sap being churned out by individuals who would neither entertain a dark thought nor admit to doing so for fear of losing a virtual like somewhere in the simulated cyberspace jungle that has replaced reality for too many. There’s no beating the feeling of throwing on a record and knowing that you are being transported to the heart of darkness by an artist who knows how to channel these feelings. And of course you can only communicate them if you are genuinely possessed by them.

Demo by name but not by nature in so far as the most putrid recesses of the Black Metal underground radiate, ‘Xaos Tenawas – Demo MMXXIII’ is a masterful recording that’s way more wholesome, heartfelt and disturbing than most full-lengths emerging nowadays. Averaging over 13 minutes apiece, ‘Majesty of Pestilential Imperium’ and ‘Avatar Personification of the Earthly Spirit in Metaphysical Form’ are monolithic, nightmarish, uncannily horrific creations of the foulest black intent and perhaps portents of even blacker things to come.

Evilometer: 666/666