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…
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.
In the 2000s, metal went through a strange phase. Scandinavian high octane melodeath bands found a shared passion for melody, hooks, and flashy guitar work with power metal bands as well new lyrical inspiration from folklore. Overnight, it seems metal spawned a whole scene with a new pool of clichés (well, sort of new) to exploit. Folk metal was nothing new at the time but there was a huge rebranding of it and every label was jumping on board. New bands popped up every year, some great and some boring as hell. One of these bands, Ensiferum, unfortunately introduced heavy metal’s most notorious edging expert, Jari Mäenpää, into the world. Jari left in 2004 to focus on Wintersun, but Ensiferum has continued its steady output of quality music since his departure. Their new album, Two Paths, continues their streak.
To the uninitiated, it may appear that on the surface, the field of cinematic and symphonic metal is thinning. Following Wintersun’s embarrassing crowdfunding flop that was The Forest Seasons, an album through which Jari Maenpaa and Co. mishandled and squandered the good graces of fans of the sound by releasing an admittedly inferior album to the one that was promised for half a decade ago, it might not be immediately obvious who would pick up the mantle of epic prog/power/black/folk/whatever. The sound of Wintersun is highly ambitious, after all, and it could be forgiven if it was assumed by some that the breadth of scope offered (or promised, anyway) by Wintersun was unique to them.
In 2009, shredtastic metal was the name of the game in metal. Between the huge boom in technical death metal, the rising progressive deathcore bands, and the old prog guard releasing some of their best material, it was a great time for guitar wankery. Buried under the popularity of huge albums like Cosmogenesis, Oracles, and The Great Misdirect, was a little blackened tech death album by a band from Nashville: Our Cursed Rapture by Enfold Darkness. Finding a unique niche in their black metal influenced music, Enfold Darkness turned some serious heads with their debut. Unfortunately, their momentum was lost and they ended up not following up their minor underground success until this year with The Adversary Omnipotent.
You thought last week was salty? Try this week. Of course, we discuss the new Stray From The Path song and the reaction to it. Then Matt Skiba of Blink 182 and his witchcraft he inflicted upon Fyre Festival. Then Soundcloud’s imminent failure, and Chance the Rapper’s attempt at stalling that. Then Pandora’s closing up shop in AU and NZ. Then the traffic accident that lead to the death of Adrenaline Mob bassist David Zablidowsky. Wintersun’s Forest Seasons shenanigans never end. Fallujah vocalist Alex Hoffman left the band. Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach and his inane rant. Then some actual new music. New Cannabis Corpse track, and Sol Invicto going all members-club-only. Finally, we bring back the Rose FUNOral debacle. Also, we discuss Netflix’s Castlevania and Glow. Enjoy!
There’s clearly some brilliance hidden somewhere in Wintersun. It’s not trivial to make concept albums with long songs and multi-layered instrumentation. To even attempt such a feat takes a certain degree of ambition and courage. Even when an attempt like this fails, it’s hard to fault a band for trying. Hard, but not impossible. It can be made especially easy when the band act arrogantly and set themselves up for failure. Positioning an album as “this is not the amazing album we promised, but something inherently and intentionally inferior to tide you over” is just not an attractive proposition for fans. Even setting that aside, if the music was good enough, that could erase all bad will. If it is good, that is. And it isn’t.
Here we are again. Another month, another crushing amount of death metal goodness. As always, welcome to Death’s Door. Wipe your feet on the mat and pull up a chair, we have a lot to cover, because June was something else entirely.
Eden is away colonializing, so we have fellow writer and regular substitute-Eden Ahmed back on this week! We have some really interesting discussions. We discuss how Jay-Z’s new album has a poor business model with its Tidal exclusivity. Funny thing is, in the day between the recording and release of this podcast, he managed to put his foot in his mouth and decided to release the album for free for non-Tidal subscribers! The salt during the episode is still interesting. We then discuss a questionable Hatebreed shirt, and the Nevermore stand-in Dead Season and their awesome new album Prophecies. Then we continue the deep segment on Devin Townsend, discussing Ziltoid, Deconstruction, Z2 and Transcendence. Spoilers: Ahmed is a MASSIVE Devin fan. Finally, we go into an extended freeform discussion about tunings in tech death which goes off the rails in many ways. Along the road we talk about the upcoming Wintersun album, the recently released Igorrr album, Andy McKee and more. Enjoy!
It’s strange to think that Voyager have been active since before the turn of the century and actively releasing full length albums since 2003, beginning with Element V. Way back when, the now-progressive metal band from Perth would have been more readily lumped in with power metal mainstays like Rhapsody…