Welcome back to the Real Gone Singles Bar, the place where we explore the various individual tracks and mp3s that have landed in our inbox over the previous few weeks. This time around, we offer a festive selection – a collection of tunes with a Christmas theme, ranging from the traditional to the bespoke. Some of the material is brand new; some re-works the familiar in a new way, but when heard together, we hope these tunes entertain, and will prop up any great alternative playlist!


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NECROVESCENT RUINER – Untouchable Faith Decay

Occupying a space somewhere between an extended single release, an EP and an album, black metal outfit Necrovescent Ruiner absolutely goes for broke on their 2023 recording ‘Untouchable Faith Decay’. A concept piece, it features just one singular twenty seven minute number. In some ways, and on its surface, this presents the ultimate extreme metal assault; in others, it’s a very progressive way of tying together various musical moods – and for those able to tune in and spend time deconstructing the arrangement, it actually plays like four or five separate pieces, despite not including separate tracks.

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CROWN OF MADNESS – Elemental Binding EP

Canadian duo Crown of Madness released their debut EP in March 2022, and for those paying close attention to the metal underground, it introduced a band with an interesting approach to an extreme sound. Their harsh combination of old school death metal and a sheet of black metal coldness would be enough to please a lot of genre fans, but occasional nods to goth and doom lent their more brutal aspects a little balance via some strangely mournful riffs.

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DIMWIND / BREATHS – Seasons (split EP)

At the beginning of 2022, the world found itself in complete turmoil. Humanity was still battling against the coronavirus pandemic – something that’d threatened to kill everyone – and an escalating war between Russians and Ukraine led to a worldwide tension, fuelled by a power hungry dictator with his finger hovering over the metaphorical self-destruct button. With everyone effectively amid a new cold war, there didn’t seem many reasons to remain positive. Adding to this palate of complete dread and fear, environmental issues were still of a massive concern. The world was now a ticking time bomb in more ways than one.

Drawing attention to those environmental issues that appeared to have taken something of a backseat during the year’s first quarter, US one man band Breaths and Sweden’s Dimwind teamed up for a split release featuring material specifically focusing on the vitally important issue. Amid the two lengthy workouts on their ‘Seasons’ EP, the message of eco-preservation is sometimes telegraphed almost as clearly as the massive riffs themselves, and the results are both harrowing and intensely brilliant in equal measure.

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On their self titled album from 2020, London’s Cult Burial served up an interesting mix of extreme metal sounds. Tracks like ‘Abyss’ and ‘Chaos’ assaulted the audience with a take on doom metal that injected the slowness with elements of blackened death and thrash, whilst the (relatively speaking) more melodic ‘Forever’ presented an ambitious hybrid of post-hardcore, thrash and black metal which pretty much sounded like no-one else. It seemed to be the kind of album where – assuming you could brace yourself for its onslaught and manage to absorb more than two songs at a time – it was possible to actually pick out different musical flourishes with each listen. Impressive, considering that on first hearing the whole thing seemed like a relentless outpouring of anger. One thing was for certain: their arrival had challenged Allfather and Kurokuma for the crown of “Britain’s Heaviest Band”.

Barely nine months on, the band began to hint at a follow up. It was to be a timely return; the UK had started to make their way out of a pandemic hell and the live music scene had started to gain some tentative traction. Massive riffs were certainly needed, and although their new EP would arrive too late to soundtrack the summer for a Bloodstock Festival crowd, Cult Burial were in time to hammer a new season into the advertised ‘Oblivion’.

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