In 1987, following a brief stint in the nascent death metal band Revenant, Paul Ledney founded Toten, a band whose two recordings count among the very first examples of black metal to have originated in the United States. Mostly overlooked in favor of Profanatica, the notorious cult that later arose from its predecessor’s ashes and also bears Ledney’s cursed birthmark, Toten’s “Misery” (1987) and “Macabre” (1988) demos arguably follow only Goatlord’s “Demo ‘87” as the earliest U.S. black metal releases. Moreover, these recordings also served as the blueprint that Profanatica, a legacy of sacrilege that would come to be recognized as one of the most influential in the history of black metal. Although both original members of Toten have garnered greater attention for their contributions to more recognized bands like Incantation and Profanatica, this release represents an important cornerstone in the foundation of black metal, both in the U.S. and beyond. Highly recommended!