‘Struggling Beams of a Waning Moon’ is the debut demo offering from Virginian one man Black Metal project Bastard Altar, and has been released on cassette earlier this year by both Escafismo Records and Geistraum Records. This four track offering consists of an instrumental introduction track and interlude, plus two songs proper of raw, lo-fi Black Metal. ‘Miserable Chalice’ is the first real taste of Bastard Altar’s punishing style, and despite the lo-fi nature of the sound there doesn’t appear to be anything particularly lost in the mix, a problem so often a curse of this kind of release. in fact the pummelling drum tones are well defined, the constant bass throb sounds out powerfully and harrowing guitar leads never get lost in the noise. On top of that, grating vocal work can be heard throughout. It’s a thoroughly relentless track with short bouts of groove thrown in, and even the odd bass lead just to change things up a little. ‘Glacial Tomb’ ends the demo and the slower and more methodical pace is a welcome switch in tempo. Once more this track soon opens up into full frontal aggression but there are some enjoyable guitar melodies hidden away amongst all of the ruthless carnage. Raw Black Metal is not usually my cup of tea in truth, but this is a decent release.