A key phrase by which many black metal bands operate is “less is more.” The idea that a piece of music is at its best when it’s as simple and stripped-down as it can possibly be is a common belief in the black metal community, but unfortunately, as with the untitled debut album from Terra, less can sometimes be too little, especially in a genre like black metal, where experimentation is necessary to stand out.
It’s really not hard to piss off a black metal fan, and no other band has done that in this decade quite like New York’s Liturgy. After the release of 2011’s Aesthethica, a string a particularly pretentious interviews and praise from a wide variety of music publications, the band was almost poised to end after several of their key members left the group. While they’ve been resting on their hype for at least a few years now, the band is now only one week away from releasing their third LP, The Ark Work, which is unquestionably their most experimental effort to date. To keep fans happy, the band decided to put up a full stream of the album on NPR yesterday, and things have definitely taken a turn for the weirder.
The recent disbandment of noisey blackened doom unit Indian was a bummer all of us. Their last album From All Purity is now left as a de-facto swansong, and while it’s a killer note to leave on, it just feels like there was work left undone.
Believe it or not though, there is some good news to come out of Indian’s dissolution. Lord Mantis, who have been on hiatus this winter, has gained new breath of life by absorbing the band’s lineup for a new EP.
Depending on who you ask, America’s black metal scene is wounded but recovering. The young sect of atmospheric and post-black metal acts are flourishing, dividing listeners firmly on either side of the aisle. On one hand, Panopticon‘s latest outings meddled in swathes of bluegrass and Americana, contributing to the furtherance of black metal as a visceral and capable artform. On the other, longtime fans of the genre bemoan the fusion of post-rock and new wave made popular by acts such as Wolves in the Throne Room and Deafheaven as an “unneeded feminization” (their words, not ours) of black metal. It goes without saying, of course, that around these parts, the petulant line drawing and “stay out of my side of the playpen” mentality is frowned upon, as genre fusion and variation are to be celebrated. Nevertheless, there is an urge to see America export more bands that borrow from the Emperor and Gorgoroth schools of thought, and Minneapolis’ Astral Blood have the potential to fill that need while still flirting heavily with the Americanized atmospheric style of black metal.
Typically, blackgaze and post-rock mix into a crushing, noisy wall a la Deafheaven or Wolves In The Throne Room. However, Sannhet are not your run-of-the-mill blackgaze band.
Abigail Williams are shifting styles across the black metal spectrum almost as fast as they swap out members, and it’s typically always for the better. The band blossomed into atmospheric black metal in the realm of Wolves in the Throne Room for 2012’s Becoming, which was one of my personal favorites from that year. Now the band are on the move once again with a new lineup and a new sonic direction, and while they’re putting finishing touches on the highly anticipated record, they’ve decided to tie fans over with early versions of two brand new songs that are now streaming with our friends at No Clean Singing.
Media outlets are growing weirder by the minute. Ten years ago you would have never seen NPR stream a band like Deafheaven, or something of the like. Now, apparently, the New York Times want to get in on all the blacktion (black metal action), because they’re streaming the new Wolves In The Throne Room record, which actually isn’t black metal at all. You can stream it below!
Wolves In The Throne Room have been on the cutting edge of greatness when it comes to their unique style of music. Ever since their debut LP the band has pushed themselves to go beyond the paradigm that is black metal to create some of the most memorable albums in the genre. However, they stirred up quite a storm when it was revealed that the new album would feature no drums or vocals and be super heavy with synths. If one band could pull it off, it’s these guys, and their new single proves that they’ve done very well with this new concept. Imagine Sunn O))) with tremelo picking and super heavy synths. That’s basically the new track, “Initiation At Neudeg Alm”, from their upcoming LP Celestite. Stream it after the jump, and don’t forget to pick up the record when it’s out July 8th!
If Relapse Records’ signing of shoegaze band Nothing didn’t tip you off that the label was ready for diversification, their signing of supergroup project Anatomy of a Habit will likely turn a few heads. Featuring past and present members of BLOODYMINDED, Tortoise, Wolves in the Throne Room, Joan of Arc, Indian, and like a hundred other bands, the group’s shoegaze and post-rock steeped doom sound is a far cry from the deathgrind or stoner metal that made Relapse a household name in the community.
By now, you know the score. The new Wolves In The Throne is not a black metal album, instead, they chose to reinterpret their previous work Celestial Lineage as, and I’m cutting all the extraneous wording, a ‘more ambient piece’. Naturally, if you’re a fan of the band, it’s an interesting prospect. Although they were always a metal band, they still managed to create soundscapes more than songs. So, you’ll be glad to know the new track from the band is exactly that — a huge vast world of sound to be explored.