Blackened hardcore is the pumpkin spiced coffee of extreme music. It’s seasonal and has become evocative of a movement, much like the over priced, sickly sweet beverage. Unfortunately, much like coffee fanatics, extreme music nuts don’t all band round blackened hardcore with the gusto they might display for say, post black metal. “It’s too obvious”, “it’s too derivative”, they may cry. Well, fuck ’em. If one cannot appreciate a twisted, cutting dose of blasts and low register riffs then one can go fornicate with their own damn self. And so there is Sunlight’s Bane: the antidote for seasonal commercialism and everything else probably wrong with the world.
Sweden’s Vardagshat don’t fuck around. Sharing many members from the fantastic Totem Skin, Vardagshat take a sleeker and simpler approach – play loud and fast crust. They don’t spoil their sound by chucking it into the blender with five other totally unrelated genres, but instead follow the lead of fellow…
Earthside remind us of what finesse in progressive metal looks like. Their 2015 A Dream in Static was a perfect exercise in sincerity and musical integrity, revolving on varied vocal guest spots, sprawling compositions and flawless execution. Needless to say, it’s truly a superb album. Thus, we’ll take any reminder we can get of it, especially if that reminder comes in the form of an astonishingly excellent video from the always excellent Erez Bader (Silent Flight Productions). In charge of excellent music videos for The Dear Hunter (“Gloria”), Thomas Giles (“Devotion”) and Wings Denied (“Catalyst”), Bader is a singular producer in the music video industry (and beyond). Together with Earthside’s powerful lyrics, assisted by one Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT), he has produced a convincing and striking music video, steeped in its own myth and symbolical meaning.
There aren’t many labels that balance consistency and quality quite like The Flenser. Since launching in 2009, the San Francisco-based curator of “dark experimental” music has presented some of the best bands fitting of this classification. And though it was probably due to my own personal taste evolving more than anything else, 2014 seemed to be a particularly phenomenal year for The Flenser’s roster, complete with incredible releases from Botanist, Have a Nice Life, Kayo Dot, White Suns and Wreck and Reference. But of all these gems, perhaps the most lasting release from the bunch has been Planning for Burial’s Desideratum, Thom Wasluck’s captivating blend of shoegaze and ambient drone that feels like an organic, non-GMO version of Jesu’s poppy doom metal.