Black metal. What does it even mean anymore? The internet kerfuffle over Sacred Son’s album artwork for his eponymous debut once again presents the age old question of what is and isn’t “trve”. For myself, I consider this argument to be a bit superfluous. Technology advances, society shifts, tastes develop and refine, and the definition of whatever is pure in art alters itself with the times. Sure, there are specific tropes that make black metal what it is, but that in no way means that this subgenre does not have room for development while maintaining the sinister core of what makes black metal, well, black metal. I would go toe-to-toe with anyone who claimed that Leviathan, with all its genre-mashing opulence, was any less fundamentally evil and true to the spirit of black metal than, say, Bathory or Mayhem. This may be sacrilege to some, but I’m sticking by it. There is plenty of room in this style of music for madcap experimentation and growth, and stifling that because an album’s art doesn’t include corpse paint is beyond ridiculous. Now that I’ve offended just about everyone, on to the delights of September! Once again, Scott and I have curated a list of black metal records for you that both fall into the traditional format of the subgenre, and also transcend its confines into more experimental territory. As always, please argue, caterwaul, and protest in the comments and provide us with the albums you found the most intriguing in the month of September. Enough exposition. Let’s get down to it.
Following exploding genres as they do so is one of the rare pleasures in life. It's like storm-chasing; you come very close to the limit of something grand and exhilarating, all the while risking going to close and being swept up in the turbulent eddies. Of course, with music, the dangers aren't quite so life threatening. However, that's not to say they aren't without risk at all; the fields of music journalism are littered with FOMO, anxiety and the bias that comes with jumping too deep into a building narrative. One such narrative, one which we have danced with repeatedly at least, is progressive stoner. In the past few years, the groove filled, fuzz soaked, odd metered weather systems of progressive stoner have been constantly barraged with the winds of innovation and creation. Now, it is time to roll down the window and turn our face towards the sea, as an especially refreshing breeze blows from it and onto our faces. Opium Eater's Ennui, streaming below in full, is a pleasure to those who prefer their stoner and doom mixed with as much variety as possible.