Palace Of Worms - The Forgotten, 2010 (Flenser Records - FL01) 95%
The first release a label offers up is an important mission statement to the world and a chance to make a real impression. Jesus Christ impaled on a sharpened stake do they make their mark with this offering. San Fransisco has proven to be a gritty urban backdrop to some truly great black metal related artists - just thinking on my feet there have been Leviathan, Weakling, Ludicra, Crebain and of course in the past the almighty Possessed. You can add Palace Of Worms to this list and they will not be out of place.
Like Crebain, Xasthur and Leviathan, Palace Of Worms is the work of one man - Balan and like Leviathan before him Balan's work in the form of a demo was taken to the (vast) shelves of Amoeba Records by a guy named Stevil. Far harsher and more intense than the Palace Of Worms demo, The Forgotten is a blast of fresh (foul) air that carries the trademark Bay Area sense of melody along with a buzzing, feverish intensity and an almost psychedelic guitar sound at times that perhaps owes to San Francisco's history in this Nuggets-era style. There is evidence in the pulsating drone, accompanied by grim sound effects and sporadic rasps during the fourth track of a keen interest in experimental/noise, while some of the more dizzying necro stylistics scream Watain and Deathspell Omega.
The songwriting on the album is second-to-none, with a real highlight personally being the third track and its ridiculously addictive guitar sections - a track, which like all the others remains nameless. The lack of song-titles and indeed lyrics in the inlay means we can only guess at the source of Balan's own personal misanthropy, but who cares? Let's just rejoice in it, irrespective of its source and pray to Lucifer himself that the Bay Area scene continues to bear such succulent fruits for us to pluck, horde and fucking devour. This comes with the highest possible personal recommendation.