The word "aesthetics" is perhaps one of the most maligned and misused term in the modern age. To wide circles of the population, it has come to mean one of two things. It is either the Internet-popularized term... Read More...
Writing a standout doom metal album is a difficult task nowadays. This isn't due to an overall lack of quality within the genre's modern progenitors, but because of the antithesis; more and more excellent doom metal albums seem to enter the running for our year ends lists with each passing year. MONARCH! (Monarch from here on out) has never struggled with this endeavor over the course of their 15-year career, particularly when it comes to their recent output with the eminent Profound Lore Records. Yet, while Sabbracadaver was certainly a doom highlight in 2014, Never Forever sees the band returning this year with their most colossal and grandiose album to date, presenting a masterful synthesis of drone metal with doom's more macabre characteristics. We sat down with the band to discuss the process of writing their latest epic, as well as a handful of other topics related to their past, present and future within the shifting landscape of modern doom.
If the story of 1980 to 1984 was how NWOBHM (and more specifically, Iron Maiden) awoke metal from its dormancy to tear the boundaries of popular music, then 1985 - 1987 is about the coronation of thrash metal atop the metal throne, and the subsequent underground rumblings of a closely linked cousin, a blood brother faster, more brutal, and more astonishing -- death metal.
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.
Welcome to the latest installment of Kvlt Kolvmn! Another amazing month, another installment attempting to capture it all. Our apologies for most assuredly failing in this regard. Nevertheless, a fairly large amount of black metal blasted through our ear holes since our last installment, and we are here to share our favorites with you. Believe you me, there were some good ones.
Every once in a great while we have calendar years that see iconic releases across a range of styles. It is rare that we see this happen in just one particular style. 1987 was one such year, though, as the entire spectrum of heaviness saw iconic records drop like so many tears from the eyes of mainstream pop music stars that these albums would devour. At the time, it didn’t seem like this was any different of a year for music until fans started to take a look at their growing record collections and what would spin out from the influence of so many landmark albums.
Black metal is one of metal’s most mysterious and plentiful subgenres. It finds new ways to reinvent itself every few years and seems to be sprouting out of every country nowadays. Though the genre seems ubiquitous today, it didn’t start out that way. A handful of bands in the early 80’s started all the tropes that metalheads are so fond of today. While the genre’s Satanic imagery, punk and thrash influence, or ethereal nature can’t be solely credited to a single artist, one aspect can: the vocals. Black metal’s classic screeches were the invention of one Satanic Satanic teenager in 1984.
Metal, like any current history, is a neverending story -- a songbook perpetually revising its denouement in the storm of new releases shattering our ears and expectations by the month. But as exciting as it is to experience the history unfolding before us, that work is already done by listeners and blogs like this one on a daily basis. Vitally important and critically overlooked, I think, is the history of metal -- the first chapters yellowing in the forty-odd years since they were bound in black and leather. This post, then, will serve as a continuation of this article detailing the early days of metal, and particularly the incredible importance of Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast to the fledgling genre.