Though not quite as sun abandoned and isolated as the Norwegian winters, Camp Pepper can still get awful dark and lonely. Compared to his previous LP, the guitarmony-laden, studio clean power pop ode CHORUS!, Black Metal Demo Tape finds the Guelph-based multi-instrumentalist handling performance and recording duties on his lonesome.
The brightness of Pepper’s music has long stood in juxtaposition to the darker, morbid themes of his lyrics – despair, alienation, a maybe too healthy love of slasher flicks – but on Black Metal Demo Tape, Pepper’s carpet finally matches his drapes. The BPMs have slowed to dirges, the guitars distorted until they roil and churn, a scaled back production gives the whole of it the third generational murkiness of a passed-around tape. Neither metal nor a demo tape, Pepper has married the primordial clangor of the former with the direct vulnerability of the latter to spawn a punishingly heavy pop album.