Black metal has always been a strange and peculiar genre of extreme music. A personal favorite of mine, really. And oh, has black metal become a genre of many mixed-styles. There’s the “kvlt/trve” style, the “blackgaze” style, the “depressive suicidal” style, the “national socialist” style, hell, there’s even “unblack metal,” which is basically Christian black metal. Point being, black metal is an ever-expanding genre that people either love or hate.

Under the pseudonym “A.L.N.”, which is probably the initials of the mastermind behind מזמור (Mizmor), A.L.N keeps the traditional one-man black metal sound in the debut self-titled full length album. Although the album was recorded and released in 2012, it sounds as though it was recorded with the cheapest equipment there is, in the isolated backwoods of Norway that no one knows about, while turning the gain all the way up on all instruments, and an excessive amount of clipping. Just how black metal should be! Alas, it was recorded in Portland, Oregon, which seems to be the closest to Norway that America will get, since black metal acts such as Agalloch  are from there. Same can go for Washington, since that’s where Wolves In The Throne Room reside.

Upon listening to מזמור (self-titled), one of the many emotions rolling through my head is agony, which is essentially the point of DSBM as a whole, so A.L.N. is doing something right. But then it switches to tranquil and calm in an instant. What makes מזמור interesting is that a copious amount of drone/funeral doom is incorporated in the music. Specifically, the third track, simply titled “III”. The track opens with about 6 minutes of just white noise, with what seems to be rainfall, then the song just takes a whole sludge/stoner metal turn, as if you’re listening to a low-quality version of Sleep, Pallbearer, as well as Sunn O))), Jesu, etc.

מזמור proves that Hell isn’t always full of fire and demons and the like, but that it can be a calm, ethereal, dark place with static flowing in the background, with the occasional erratic quake to make sure that you’re paying attention to what’s being thrown at you next. A wonderful experience if I do say so myself.

-MV

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