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Kvlt Kolvmn // May 2024

Ah. Black metal in the spring and summer months. I love the smell of decay in the morning. It’s another lean, mean edition of Kvlt Kolvmn. Let’s go.

Ah. Black metal in the spring and summer months. I love the smell of decay in the morning. It’s another lean, mean edition of Kvlt Kolvmn. Let’s go. 

Admittedly, we here at Heavy Blog have not had as much time to delve into the riches of black metal in 2024, especially over the past few months. But we did hear some bangers, and we're choosing our favorites to share with you this month. It may not be our most robust entry to date, but the content here is spectacular. Let us know your favorites in the comments.

Stay frosty.  

-Jonathan Adams

Winter’s Crown

Dystopia- Geen Weg Uit

The Beneluxian post-black metal scene has been a great few years. If you’re unfamiliar, Benelux refers to the “low countries” in North Western Europe, including the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg. The black metal scene there has been overflowing with lush, ethereal, and gorgeously melancholic black metal for years now with acts like Fluisteraars, Grey Aura, Verwoed leading the charge. These bands, and indeed a lot of the rest of the black metal made in the area, is firmly within the “post” sub-genre. It channels wind and string instruments, effervescent melodies, and expansive, ambient soundscapes to create a sort of black metal that’s both vast in scope and chilling in emotional makeup. 

Netherland’s Dystopia have been around that scene for over a decade now but their most recent release, Geen Weg Uit, feels like their most vital contribution to this sound. Working within the tradition of this sound, Geen Weg Uit is made up of two songs split up into parts plus one more track at the end. These tracks are patient, winding things, channeling structures that would not be amiss on a Motorpsycho release or a psychedelic album. These structures channel synths, quiet percussion, and drawn out buildups to supercharge the heavier, wilder parts of Dystopia’s music to a brilliant degree, building a carefully constructed album. Due to these complex constructions, the album plays like an old school progressive rock album, rising and falling with its closely guarded and expressed themes.

At the center of the music itself stand two instruments: the first are horns. So many, so gorgeous, so evocative horns. Really, I can’t heap enough praise on the brass instruments on this release; reminding me of British Sea Power’s expert use of them on the Disco Elysium OST, these horns channel all of the forlorn melancholy that only that instrument is capable of. In contrast to them, the other instrument is vocals. The vocals on Geen Weg Uit are just as excellent, pulling a surprising move by drawing more from the unfettered fierceness and theatrical mode of avant-garde black metal. This causes them to stand out in the best of ways, launching themselves into fury on the heavier passages and adding a harrowing, pained note to the quieter passages on the albums.

I could keep going; Geen Weg Uit has so much happening within its intricate and ambitious run time. Suffice it here to say that it is one of the best black metal albums released within a year already more than blessed with excellent black metal. It further cements the power and innovation happening within the Benelux black metal scene and demands that if you’ve been sleeping on it, you must stop and listen.

-Eden Kupermintz

Best of the Rest

Glassing - From the Other Side of the Mirror

It’s taken a relatively short amount of time for Texas post-black/hordcore/whatever outfit Glassing to make their mark on the extreme metal world. From 2017’s Light and Death through 2021’s audacious Twin Dream, Glassing have improved steadily and deliberately, moving into the space of the post-metal world once dominated by bands like Deafheaven and Bosse-de-Nage, gaining more notoriety with each passing release. 2024 finds us looking at Glassing as more than a breakout band, but a newfound institution in the realm of post-everything, and From the Other Side of the Mirror does nothing to dispel that notion. It is, without question, their most complete and truly memorable release yet. 

For my ears at least, it normally takes a few spins for a Glassing album to really grip me. Not so with Other Side. From the opening riff of “Anything You Want”, the emotional intensity the band is known for presents itself clearly and forcefully, creating gripping moments right from the jump. While some might consider this a potentially more contemplative album for the band (which I think is a logical argument to make), the heavier moments go harder than anything Glassing has written before. “Defacer” is not only the hardest and most gripping composition on the record, it’s the gnarliest thing the band have produced. Period. The emotive ebb and flow of this record allows Glassing to hit their most gripping and affecting highs to date, culminating in a record that offers a more consistently grand experience than its predecessors. 

If you’ve been waiting for Glassing to have their breakout moment, I’m happy to state that it has arrived and in spades. This is a superb record that captures all the band does well with a level of verve that will certainly carry the band to even greater heights if sustained for future releases. But for now, Other Side offers more than enough musical meat to chew on for years to come.  

-JA

Gravkvade - Prolog

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here: Gravkvade may have dropped the heaviest album of the entire year on your unsuspecting ears. Self-described as “Swedish black funeral art,” the trio plumb the depths of extreme music with a crushing blend of funeral doom and black metal infused with melancholic synths. The resulting compositions can only be described as haunting, devastating, and according to Eden, nasty.

Like the blanket of fog swirling across its cover, Prolog is all-consuming and chilling. An echoing bass creates a cavernous stage, seemingly imitating a funeral march or procession to prayer. The mood is somber, forcing stillness and focus. But the meditation can only linger for so long, as Gravkvade breaks the reverie with raw, howling vocals. The march continues, intensity increasing with the addition of urgent guitars. Then, just as quickly as it arose, the cacophony yields to lush pianos braced against chilling ambiance. 

The contrast between suffocating misery and minimalist beauty only adds to the sheer heaviness of Prolog. Residing between the raw fury of ambient black metal and punishing gloom of funeral doom, Gravkvade stand alone in their dark void of disgust and depression. Abandon all hope, dear listener, for you won’t need it here. 

-Bridget Hughes

Jonathan Adams

Published a day ago