When thinking of hardcore it is not often thought of as a particularly “artistic” genre. For the most part is is rage induced, sweaty, adrenaline pumping music crafted to make a statement in a short burst of time. For the most part there are no art rock frills, no examples of poetic lyricism, and very little deviation beyond what is comfortable and what is known. However, there are those rare few hardcore bands that push beyond what is comfortable and create a truly unique listening experience. Such is the case with Philadelphia hardcore heroes Blacklisted, a band who has shown that hardcore is not meant to just be simple, but can be expanded upon in some truly unique ways. And helming Blacklisted with lyrics that prove hardcore can be poetic is George Hirsch, otherwise known as the neo folk project Harm Wülf.
For the majority of the first four albums in the series, The Dear Hunter’s Acts – Casey Crescenzo’s sprawling prog rock opera in six parts – have been largely a story concerned with beginnings. Characters are in a seemingly perpetual state of movement, always attempting to escape or sidestep their problems in favor of the hopes of a new, better life. From the images of Ms. Terri fleeing for her life (and the life of her unborn son) away from the abuse she faced as a prostitute in Act I, to the titular protagonist – The Dear Hunter – running from home upon his mother’s murder in Act II, to his then running away from his broken relationship with Ms. Leading off to Europe to fight in World War I in Act III (where he spent a period of time AWOL after fleeing the battlefield), and finally to his return to The City and assumption of a stolen identity in Act IV, the major action of these albums has centered around running away from conflict in favor of new beginnings rather than resolving old ones. The end of Act IV marked a critical turning point in the story, however, as The Dear Hunter, in a position of power as an elected official, was blackmailed by his nemesis and the story’s main villain, The Pimp/Priest. That album ended on that reveal and cliffhanger, leaving listeners wondering where the story could possibly go from here.
Way back in 2012, Paul Mazurkiewicz (drummer for Cannibal Corpse) sat down with Billboard (via Metal Injection) and was posed an interesting question: who are death metal’s Big 4? Now, boiling any genre down to a definitive group of four is realistically impossible – as important as the Big 4 of thrash are to the genre, bands like Sepultura, Overkill, Kreator and Destruction deserve just as significant a portion of credit. So too was the case with Mazurkiewicz’s naming of Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide and Suffocation as the Big 4 of death metal, which leaves out a whole slew of bands seminal to the genre’s evolution (Death, Bolt Thrower, Obituary, Autopsy, Carcass and innumerable others). Yet, in terms of balancing popularity, influence and an active status, it’s hard to argue with Mazurkiewicz’s picks; all four bands are nothing short of genre pioneers who played pivotal roles in defining death metal from its post-thrash transitional stage. However, when we fast forward to the genre’s current landscape, it’s clear time hasn’t been as kind to the infamous blasphemers from the Sunshine State as it has for the rest of DM’s Big 4. Despite being near the top of the pack in terms of influence and album sales, Deicide has experienced a noticeable fall from grace from their prime in the early-nineties. But the question is – why? What caused these luminaries to become lost?
Ramping up your hype for an album over time and then having it deliver is a great, albeit too rare, feeling. Luckily, Oddland have delivered unto us exactly that sort of blue-moon experience with their much anticipated release, Origin. It is everything you’d want a follow up release to be: it has many shared, thematic points with their previous release but they innovate where it matters, namely the musical approach. Origin is more agile, more expansive where The Treachery of Senses was dense and direct. It gives their specific brand of Nordic progressive metal space in which to grow, in which to try new things with their sound. Because of all of that, and much more, we’re super proud to be premiering the album exclusively, two days ahead of its release. Head on below to check it out!