It might not come as a total surprise, but ‘First Tape’ is actually this band’s first release. But while this might be the first offering of the band, at least one of the two involved musicians isn’t quite a stranger to our VM-Underground pages. Besides MZ, whose identity is still a mystery, CEP consists out of the ever-prolific MBN, known for his work with Chevallier Skrog and multiple other acts as well as with the Pant Y Meddygon label.
With CEP, the pair brings a raw punk-driven kind of Black Metal, which is punctuated with great frequency by some samples of canonical singing and, what I suspect, Eastern European films or documentaries. Incidentally, those samples may well usher in the songs, but where exactly the beginning and end of the four tracks lie is unclear. This is further complicated by the fact that the four songs are also offered as one elongated track on the label’s Bandcamp.
Back to the music then. The generally somewhat slow tempo contributes to the lingering nature of the music, which is a sharp contrast to the almost D-Beat Punk-like drums and production. However, the icy screeches do keep the feet firmly rooted in Black Metal, so the Ildjarn and Bone Awl references are quickly made. It is also not much unlike many of MBN’s earlier/other work, in which he also regularly explores the twilight zone between the darkness of Raw Black Metal and the raw energy of old UK Street Punk, combining both of their aggression and pureness into something that is totally bareboned and compelling at the same time.
Once again, MBN manages to deliver a cool Black Metal demo. Perhaps the difference between some of his bands/projects is not always sharply discernible and some releases would also be best released under a previously used band name, the quality of the honest and pure ultra-Raw Black Metal is no less.