Black metal is having a fantastic two years. Besides the sheer volume of great releases, the best tell-tale of this prolific outburst is the sheer variety of sub-genres actively contributing to the main genre. This year alone, we’ve seen more “straight-forward” contributions (like Orm’s excellent, self titled release), atmospheric releases (like Somnium Nox’s excellent Terra Inanis), and more avant-garde experimentation (like Dodecahedron’s death metal tinged kwintessens or netra’s weird Ingrats). To this latter category, of black metal blended with unusual influences, we can now add White Ward’s Futility Report, a third release from a relatively unknown band which should, hopefully, garner them more attention.
Last year, my interest was piqued by a surprise release from Woodsplitter, an instrumental solo project from Ben McLeod, guitar player of one of my favorite “new” bands, Nashville’s All Them Witches. Inflamed examines metal guitar through a variety of lenses: post, prog, death, stoner, doom, and even krautrock; showcasing an impressive variety and a refined level of comfort as each track seems to pare down to the core of what makes these sounds appeal to so many. His newest venture, Egyptian Overload explores an even wider swath of sounds and textures, plus the addition of saxophone. I asked Ben a few questions about the project, the rawness of his latest record, and future plans.
Since Year of the Cobra’s 2015 inception, Amy and Jon Barrysmith have proven that you don’t need a huge band to create a huge sound. Producing massive, infectious heavy riffage and a sound mightier than a duo should rightfully lay claim to this pairing pummel audiences the world over. You’d be forgiven for drawing the easy straight-line comparison to Jucifer considering the similar pieces parts but you’d be doing yourself a woeful injustice to both bands.
Bees Made Honey in the Vein Tree piqued my interest from the moment I came across their Bandcamp page. Much of what first drew me to Earth’s masterpiece Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull is present on BMHVT’s debut Medicine: an alluring cover, unique title and promises of an expansive, mesmerizing take on doom metal. It’s this last point that sweetened the deal like hemp-infused honey candy, and if you’re at all a fan of all things sludge and doom, you’d be wise to succumb to what this psychedelic dose of Medicine has to offer.