Tag Archives: true authentically real black metal

Moon – Caduceus Chalice

As tends to happen these days, I preordered this album from a few songs I’d heard on his Myspace page.

Yes, it’s one man black metal. But it’s not really one man black metal.

The cover art is terrible, comprised entirely of cliches.

The typography is far more blasphemous than any declaration of anti-religious dedication; must everyone use these shitty Black Forest “gothic” fonts?

The logo is remarkably dull even for a field most noted for its wide array of remarkably dull logos, though it gains a few points by being both unreadable and symmetrical. A novel approach to the otherwise unimaginative “u can’t read me hail satan” squiggle routine.

It’s a fucking aesthetic nightmare on the outside. Even looking at the .jpg of the cover makes me angry. I had to cover it with a Post-it note just to complete this review. Continue reading

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Krallice, Liturgy & Lightning Swords Of Death (Two Of These Things Are Not Like The Other)

I’m not one for “if you’re into it I’m out of it” posturing. Depending on the source, the opinions of others can be a tremendous boon, especially as we float down this wide open river of digital distribution and incredibly easy access to cultural objects.

That said, Krallice is basically unlistenable. They don’t suck like Agalloch* sucks; they’re not unlistenable like older Aube and related strains of noise; they wouldn’t send me running from the room, hands over ears begging a blind and helpless universe to make it stop, just please dear god make it stop a la The Decemberists. But they’re boring, overly-long and just fail to fuse the disparate parts of their influences (prog metal, shrieking, post rock lengthiness) into anything interesting. I tried to like Dimensional Bleedthrough, having bought it upon the recommendation of seemingly hundreds of people, but I have finally given up months later. I think it’s pretty terrible, having neither hook nor tune nor anything to make it stand out as an object of interest.

I would not bring them to the prom.

Liturgy is halfway there. I enjoyed a giggle at the oft-tortured reasoning of frontman Hunter Hunt Hendrix in the first Black Metal Theory Symposium collection about American transcendentalism and “burst beats”. Not my bag, but hardly fatal, especially in a sub-genre pool that includes the idiots from Watain**. The music, however, is only halfway there. Renihiliation has some very interesting drumming and construction, but ultimately fails to reach the lofty heights their frontman claims to reach for. I will check out whatever comes next, probably.

In contrast, Lightning Swords of Death lost a bet with someone and ended up with a band name you might find on a sitcom where the teenage daughter is dating a scary “rock guy” for one episode. (He gets arrested for stealing a car, or perhaps smoking marijuana.) It sounds like a joke, the songs are titled like jokes, and yet my son and I agree that The Extra-Dimensional Wound is one of the best albums of 2010.

Strapped in his carseat, his legs and arms flail to the martial intro of “Damnation Pentastrike” (ha!), head nodding along to the beat and laughing with the sort of glee that amoral babies possess in great quantity. While he doesn’t love it as much as the intro to “Raining Blood” (his favorite song at 15 months), it never fails to calm him down.

I think this band is so likable because it is nothing more than it is – 30 tons of riffs, lyrical puking, and nicely balanced between ridiculous posturing and catchy songwriting.

*Sometimes I feel as though someone is playing a practical joke on me. Or perhaps I am blind to some kind of transcendent beauty in the creation of a post-metal Dream Theatre. Or not.

**Let us be serious – when it comes to sheer criminality, even the most brutally extreme satanic black metal bllarrrgghghghghghahhhahhhhh “nihilism” fails far short in both body count and general criminality behind most mainstream music genres past and present; the drug trade that fueled the rave scene; the drunk and disorderly wife beating brigades of country music; or just hip hop in general. It’s about as scary as the Insane Clown Posse, and nearly as sad. All of the ridiculous baggage and none of the success. All the severed goat heads in the world can’t make up for being a cartoon in a postmodern age where actual terrorism – both of the state and stateless variety – is so common.

Perhaps Sweden is a bit too comfortable?

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The Best Album of 2010 That I Didn’t Hear Until 2011

Murmuure. I don’t rock umlauts, but people who liken this to that Blut Aus Nord hoser make me cry inside. On the outside I’m a study in stoicism, though.

It sounds like a bunch of stuff – old horror soundtracks and primitive synth drones and symphonic metal-ish shoegazey and what-have-yous – but it feels like if Coil had tried to be a band instead of two people who are terribly missed.

Go check this shit out and get back to them with money so they keep doing whatever the hell it is they’re doing.

Another good point of reference is the band Yoga, whose Megafauna has a similar aesthetic and is similarly great as hell.

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Dogs and Cats Living Together

Though I often throw stones at their staff’s lack of research into the particular esoterica I’m familiar with, this piece on the resurgence of cassettes is exceptionally well done. I grew up listening to cassettes, so the whole thing is mostly baffling, but the economics of it make a bit of sense. There’s also the unique exclusivity of using a dead medium, without the bratty edge of the folk who put out stuff on 8-track.*

As mentioned in this post, my efforts to find out more about a band called Leech** will apparently involves a cassette label.

Neat-ish, but problematic. I have no way to play the things.

I haven’t used a cassette deck in about fifteen years, and there’s plenty of good reasons why. The sound quality kinda sucks it and the hissing is irritating. They break. They’re linear to a fault.

The single greatest thing about my first cd player (which I got by trading Garage Days Re-revisited to a friend’s older brother) was the ability to listen to the same song over and over again. I could not have been more blown of mind than had you showed me an iPhone.

* (They’re dicks.)

** A glib description would be Godspeed You Black Metal Emperor, but a more evocative (and accurate) take is Slint sent forward in time to live in a cabin and write overly long jams that just happen to be stunning.

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2009 Was The Sort of Year That Passed In One Month Increments

Music For Infants: My preliminary field notes indicate that babies, by and large, don’t give a shit about music. However, there are two exceptions in Vashti Bunyan and David Tibet, particularly Sleep Has His House. Weirds me the hell out, it does. Not because Sleep is a bad album, or because it is rightfully considered one of Current 93‘s finest works and this indicates supernatural prescience, but because it’s about a dead father, sung by his living son.

But it soothes the savage beast, and so I worry not.

This past year was one of preparation and rediscovery. Health and Death and yet another triumphant Boredoms experience. Throbbing Gristle, set in motion during my own infancy, played “Discipline” in an old Masonic Temple and drew a circle around what I imagined my youth to be. Will Oldham demonstrated extreme American exceptionalism while millions inexplicably mourned a dead pedophile; Antony showed an overwhelming capacity for international superstardom, hemmed in only by being a beautiful woman who doesn’t look like one. Continue reading

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Genre Is A Millstone And Tom Araya Is Pushing 50

arayaThe original article was indeed filled with some inadequacies concerning genre specificity, as more than a few commentors pointed out. It was interesting, if a bit overwrought, but I think most folks can sympathize with the general concept of catharsis via sound.

The follow up was basically shameless fan service, but some interesting patterns emerged.

You not only have genre snobs, some of whom were performing fact-checking (Slayer being thrash, not death metal) and some of whom were being jerks for the sake of being jerks. On top of that, you had the anti-snob folks who were also being helpful or jerky. That’s fascinating. Genre is such a powerful social divider that you have preemptive snobbery!

Also, please note that when cropped correctly, Tom Araya looks a bit like Abraham Lincoln. Continue reading

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Wolves in the Throne Room – Black Cascade

blackcascadeWikipedia is a great starting point for things that don’t matter too much, but consider the following:

The band has described their sound as “purifying black metal” or “transformative black metal”, although in interviews the band has shown an unwillingness to be restricted by any musical label.[citation needed]

How many bands or artists have a willingness to be restricted by musical labels? Let’s simplify – how many people enjoy being pigeonholed? How many people enjoy having hours and days and months of work summed up in a few dismissive words?

Citation needed, indeed. Continue reading

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