Equinox – Ceremony of the North Wind

Equinox
Ceremony of the North Wind
1998 (no label)
Gwinn, Michigan, USA

Michael Chevalier – Vocals, Rhythm guitars, keyboards, drums, programming
Sean Bedore – Lead guitars
Daniel Meneguzzo – Bass

Side 1:

  1. Demonized
  2. King of Worms
  3. Within the Light of Satanas

Side 2:

  1. The Lost Son
  2. Beyond the Neverending
  3. Ceremony of the North Winds

This one was a big shock. I was expecting some kind of pop album with Celtic or Viking touches based on the album cover and title. This is full blast black/death metal with hints of symphonic metal here and there. They had one demo before this called The Adonis Chronicle, and after this demo they changed their name to Draco to avoid copyright problems with Equinox. They released this demo or a re-recorded version of this demo as Draco and then split up. As you can see above, the tape only has song titles and no other information. The rest I found online.

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Jeremiah’s Grotto – Raining Small Colors

Jeremiah’s Grotto
Raining Small Colors
1998 (no label)

Chris Siegle – Lead vocals, guitar
Brian Gray – Guitars
Dan Gray – Bass
Jonathan Farnell – Drums

Side 1:

  1. Hold the Light
  2. Clarified
  3. 20/20
  4. Afraid
  5. Raining Small Colors

Side 2:

  1. Embrace
  2. One Second of Grace
  3. Lost Impurity
  4. Divine
  5. 5

This is the same Jeremiah’s Grotto that went on to release two albums for Screaming Giant Records (Exemplar in 1999 and Through It All in 2001). The sound here is still the same emo/indie sound that they had on their later albums, but a little dialed back on the emo side here. The vocal style here is also the off-key style that emo/indie bands were doing a lot of in the late 90s – not everyone’s cup of tea if I remember. But it was for others, which is why they probably got signed. The only two tracks that seem to have made it onto later albums are “20/20” and “Lost Impurity” (changed to “Loss-Impurity”) on Exemplar.

Sanctifica – In the Bleak Midwinter

Sanctifica
In the Bleak Midwinter
1998 (no label)
Sweden

Hubertus – Guitar, vocals
Jonathan – Bass
Daniel – Drums
Alexander – Synth

Side 1:

  1. Intro
  2. Burial of the Grave
  3. Blind for Reality
  4. In the Bleak Midwinter

Side 2:

  1. Sacrifice to Life
  2. King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Black metal that is so black that the cassette is entirely black! Really – It has no label, no markings, no indication of which side is which – just a plain black cassette. I don’t know much about black metal, but this cassette has good production values, so you can clearly here everything. So many extreme metal demos are recorded so poorly that it all becomes a muddy mess. You can hear each instrument clearly here – and the vocals as well (even though these are growly/harsh black metal that are hard to decipher at times). I enjoyed the cassette, but don’t know enough about the genre to be able to compare it to others. Apparently they became more avant-guarde as they went along. These songs were re-released on a split with Pantokrator in 2001, but it doesn’t seem like any of these songs made in onto any of their own full-lengths.