Firtan – Okeanos

There are few genres in music that have a deeper and more fundamental connection to nature and history than black metal. From its earliest thematic inception, the most evil of metal’s subgenres has sought to restore through music and philosophy a way of life that, for the most part, has…

The Anatomy Of: Hoth

Last week, I had the extreme privilege of receiving Hoth’s new record, Astral Necromancy. It is a wondrous album that takes up a unique niche in metal: blackened melodic death metal. It’s a unique blend of death metal stylings and black metal themes all set within an established space opera…

The Anatomy Of: Saor

Being a child of Scotland, one grows up to love the rolling countryside, endless hills and mountain tops and inevitably, the inclement weather. If you’re a city person, this might end up inspiring the kind of dark, abrasive music of Dark Habits or Frontierer; all angles and sharp corners. Take a look past the grey metropolitan areas and there is beauty in the fog surrounding our Lochs and landscapes. Saor have spent the better part of the last five years channeling this into some of the most melancholic black metal around. Not afraid to use traditional instrumentation and styles, Saor’s latest offering Guardians blends the peaty smoke of the bogs with shimmering, incandescent strings and pipes. It’s one that Heavy Blog goers might have missed last year but this needs to change.

The Anatomy Of: Astronoid

We have (along with the rest of our niche of the community) been singing the praises of Astronoid for quite some time now. If you’ve never run into the name, imagine what would happen if you take a dream and then crash-landed it into a thrash metal concert. The guitars go fast, the drums blast away but the vocals are clean and soar high above the music. In composition as well there is a marked style, a bright, lazy, honey-slow drip that just pulls you right in. It’s like a hot, summer day when you were a child and the hours drew out in the long, dark tea time of the soul (as one Douglas Adams puts it) into a pastiche of nostalgia, fear, hope and dreams.

What goes into such a broth? How does a band like this come to be, seemingly emerging from nowhere to revolutionize what we thought was possible within the somewhat stale confines of thrash? Instead of speculating, hear it from the band themselves! We reached out just after our interview and asked the band our fateful, Anatomy Of question: what made you the musicians that you are today? More specifically, which musicians contributed to how you write, think and perform music? Below you can find styles ranging from progressive pop to Norse metal and much in between. Blast Air in the background and get ready to dive into what makes Astronoid tick.

Hey! Listen to Skogmark!

Like all metalheads, I listen to a handful of artists who are conspicuously unknown. One such band is Skogmark, an atmospheric black metal band hailing from the frozen grandiosity of St. Petersburg, Russia. Their full-length debut Sworn to Paganism is a particular favorite of mine that I would like to see get more recognition. Although Skogmark is primarily an atmoblack outfit, don’t mistake their music for the pleasant, wafting melodies of Saor. They more closely related to a meaner, more clinically depressed Windir.

For Fans Of – Emperor

It’s amazing how much ground Emperor covered over the course of just four albums. From helping to pioneer black metal to introducing symphonics and progressive elements to the BM formula, there really aren’t many more important bands within the Norweigan scene, or even the genre as a whole. Back-to-Back classics In the Nightside Eclipse and Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk may be two of the best introductory black metal albums, as they make the harshest parts of the genre accessible without losing an ounce of immaculate songwriting prowess. We now welcome you to a different form of introduction, exploring six bands that have taken influence from Emperor, added their own unique, bold twists and churned out records that more than capably carry the torch onward into a world of textured symphonics and atmosphere. Head past the jump to enter our inaugural black metal FFO; there couldn’t be a better band to commence the frost and torment.