Arizmenda - Spiders Lust in the Dungeon's Dust (Self-released)

There's a reason why I risked a review of this album despite its dubious context—it's unquestionably one of the most unique and peremptory BM records that I've heard in 2022.  The crooked guitar tone has a robust mid-range that leavens the trebly buzz, and nods to Brooklyn USBM trend-setters like Anicon, Krallice, and Yellow Eyes, albeit with a more pervasively maudlin post-metal feel.  Also, while the aforementioned primarily trade in the mystical and otherworldly, Arizmenda's domain is fleshly and carnal.  As the title suggests, this album isn't shy about its sexual themes, and it invokes a tortured, Cenobite-esque eroticism that plays without a safe word.  This noose-kinking meshes well with both the depressive/suicidal black metal (DSBM) undertones in the anguished vocal performance and the gentler sensuality hinted at in the Flamenco-inspired guitarwork.  There's even some blackened post-hardcore lurking in its recessive DNA.  It's a heady (and horny) beast.   
Perhaps the most interesting twist, however, is the injection of an earthy psychedelia.  Much like Xasthur or Esoctrilihum, these tracks draw the listener into their incense-hazed rituals with an eerie, neo-tribal power.  Plus, the production on Spiders Lust in the Dungeon's Dust is thick and striated, filtering the array of spiraling guitars and honeycombed vocals through its darkened prism with an ethereal clarity.  Arizmenda might borrow a few tricks from raw BM, but that influence doesn't corrupt the relative sanctity of the mix.  As much as I enjoy lo-fi grit, that was the right decision here—there's just too much happening, too much fetishistic detail, to risk its obfuscation.  This is a complicated record (by a complicated artist), and its ayahuasca-and-BDSM gambit won't pay off for everyone, but it's the sound of someone who's spike-collared his own demons and the multiple influences that shaped this record with rare finesse.         

Although this album was self-released, Arizmenda's previous output was curated by the Crepúsculo Negro label, which was created in the late '00s to serve as an official outlet for a collective of Mexican and Guatemalan black metal (BM) artists who called themselves the Black Twilight Circle.  My Google-sleuthing revealed that the self-proclaimed leader of this group (who shall intentionally remain unnamed) is a racist moron. As such, I must discourage any support (financial or otherwise) of the label.  Arizmenda is no longer part of this collective, and I hope his departure represents ideological differences, but if you know something that I don't, please sound the alarm.