This week me and my regular co-host Cody are tired of all the garbage in metal. Marduk, Cirith Ungol, Meshuggah, Decapitated, just throw it all in the trash fire. Then, more positivity. Cody is really excited about Psycho Las Vegas, which leads to him checking out Wolves In The Throne Room. There's a new Ihsahn song, and I got into Krosis, and tried to get into the new Panopticon album. Then we talk about Death, Gruesome and Cist. Finally, we go over this video comparing Mike Portnoy and Mike Mangini, and what the loss of Portnoy means for Dream Theater. Then, cool people time with A Quiet Place, The Knick, Unsane, The Exorcist (TV show) and more. Enjoy!
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.
Some things just go really well together. Ham and cheese. Cookies and milk. Frodo and Samwise. Alcohol and an unusually horrible following morning. The metal world, intent on constantly reinventing and expanding itself, tends to mix differing sounds into new amalgamations of metal mayhem in hopes of finding similarly delightful pairings. Some of these ventures are more successful (Full of Hell and Merzbow) than others (here’s looking at you, Metallica and Lou Reed). But few things pair as well in the metal world as black and death metal. All the key ingredients for hate-filled success are there: unparalleled intensity, blast beats, tremolo insanity, thematic cohesion, and harsh, unrelenting vocal deliveries. With all of these commonalities between the two metal subgenres, you’d think that their fusion would be relatively easy to pull off. Based on a lot of recent death metal releases that incorporate black metal into their sound, however, it would seem that this isn’t always the case or even the norm. Outside of the success of bands such as Behemoth, there are surprisingly few examples of blackened death metal seeping deeply into metal culture. Excommunion is here to change that with their fierce new record, Thronosis.
In some circles, USBM has long been a dirty acronym. Much reviled for its less-than-trve-kvlt aesthetic, black metal originating from the United States has seldom been considered an equal with its European peers. Over the past decade, several bands have begun to chink away at the wall of cynicism surrounding USBM to varying degrees of success. Nightbringer is one of these bands. If you have not heard their music before, think the bombast of Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk-era Emperor, coupled with a slightly less insane mix of Deathspell Omega’s freneticism, the sonic oddness of Dodheimsgard, and the chilling atmosphere of Blut Aus Nord.
Black metal deserves every single piece of criticism laid at its doorstep. Let's be very clear on that before we begin. You don't get to base your genre of music on despicable, and sometimes plain murderous, figures and then act surprised when people levy enhanced and abrasive scrutiny against you. (I mean, you definitely can do that but it's just childish and coy.) A genre which actively courts racism, nationalism, violence and shock images should not be surprised when people pick on it; you're asking for it and, deep down, you fucking love it. Black metal wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the knee jerk reactions of mainstream culture towards it, clear and cut. If black metal's original antics were simply taken in stride, if they were treated as the petulant children they so often were, the genre would have been stillborn.