Black metal is not currently, nor has it ever been, known for being easily digestible listening. Walls of sound do not engender such a quality; harsh, biting production and maximalist output defy the existence of such a trait. This isn’t to say bands within the blackened realm have never been known to play with such a concept – there are plenty of bands that bring a melodic or calmer approach to the genre – but few and far between are the black metal bands that actively encourage such a trait or let it define their music. Songs tend to be monochromatic in character, all furious sound and gnashing teeth, and little is explored in the way of accessibility or an inviting nature to those unacquainted with the genre’s tropes. As if specifically to shatter this statement, along comes the new album from German black metal veterans Imperium Dekadenz: Dis Manibvs is as close to the “easy listening” descriptor as any artist has yet to get.
Welcome to “Beyond the Veil“! In this feature, its name (partially) taken from the Gods of Eden track, we’re going to delve into some theoretical aspect of the music we love in an effort to elucidate the behind-the-scenes workings at play, but in a largely jargon-free manner intended to be accessible to those who don’t necessarily have a music theory background. After covering quite a few different scales here on Beyond the Veil, we’re going to shift gears a tad into the world of chord theory. Today’s topic, the major seventh chord, is something that is absolutely littered across all sorts of music, with its unique tonality making it a particularly effective tool for a musician.
Amon Amarth has been one of the most consistently excellent melodic death metal bands to come through the pipes in the last two decades. Over the years, they’ve honed and refined their sound from the raw death metal ferocity of Once Sent from the Golden Hall into a cleaner, more accessible melodic death metal sound. Their graduation away from raw brutality happened largely in landmark leaps at a few points in their career. Because of this, I’ve taken the liberty of dividing Amon Amarth’s career into three distinct sonic stages in order to more closely examine the Amon Amarth of yesterday and today.
Some may claim this to be all-too similar to a previous Soul Curator that I did on writing. And, yes, while the action this playlist is supposed to score is the same, I feel that writing science fiction is something completely different from the standard mode of writing. In a way, you need to make yourself leave Earth. You need to be able to break rules and then glue them back together again. The Albums To Write To Soul Curator included albums that (for me, at least) kept the mind focused and eliminated distraction; this, however, stands on different grounds. The key to writing great science fiction (or any imaginative fiction, for that matter), is to be able to tap into the fantastical parts of your mind. Whether you come up with something that is grounded more in reality or doesn’t adhere to anything this planet has heard of is completely up to you. And these are albums that can help you reach that mode of thinking.