stormkeep - galdrum

Stormkeep: Galdrum (2020)

Even though my drive for metal – particularly new metal – has been on a significant wane, an ember still burns. It’s become more selective, and when I hear something that registers it can still pull me into that space where I am transported. Black metal has always held place for me; after all, it was the musical language that I used as the foundation of what would grow into whatever Necrolytic Goat Converter is. Over the years I’ve become more picky as to what I listen to within the genre, and it’s heartening to hear a band like Stormkeep keeping the old school flame alive without actually…you know, burning churches or spewing hate. I missed the boat on grabbing their debut Galdrum on vinyl but nabbed a CD because hey: support the bands you love, right?

Continue reading “Stormkeep: Galdrum (2020)”
yellow eyes - rare field ceiling

Yellow Eyes: Rare Field Ceiling (2019)

I listened to a lot of albums this weekend, mostly classic rock (Grateful Dead’s Live Dead) and modern rock trying to sound classic (Admiral Sir Cloudsley Shovell’s Very Uncertain Times) but it was the cold and somewhat impenetrable Yellow Eyes that got me to stop and think “I should write about this.”  Because Rare Field Ceiling, like all of the band’s other records, has the peculiar trick of frustrating me even as it draws in me into its maelstrom. Continue reading “Yellow Eyes: Rare Field Ceiling (2019)”

belus - apophenia

Belus: Apophenia (2017)

The first thing I noticed about Belus was the drumming.  Listen to how the drums practically skip over the melodic black metal riffing on “Chasm,” the opening track of the band’s debut album Apophenia.  It’s a marvel of work, on par with the first time I heard someone like Brann Dailor explode on Remission or even (gulp) Lars play on And Justice for All.  It immediately serves to move Belus apart from what the glut of other melodic black metal bands are doing, and makes Belus one of the best modern US black metal releases in some time.  Continue reading “Belus: Apophenia (2017)”

bathory - blood fire death

Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)

So here’s why you sometimes have to be dubious of what you buy.  After finally succumbing to the black metal bug, I decided I needed to dig deeper in Bathory, one of the primal godfathers of the genre.  I had heard the earlier stuff but didn’t own anything beyond the final two albums which – as we’ll see in a few days – were decidedly different.  So after deliberation I decided to start with Blood Fire Death, the touchstone for mainman Quorthon’s transition from the gnarly black metal of his earlier album into the more viking metal pomp if his later stuff.  And so I bought a CD off of Amazon.

From the Kraze label. Continue reading “Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)”

barshasketh - ophidian henosis

Barshasketh: Ophidian Henosis (2015)

Here was the deal with this one: for about seven euros I could get the digital download for Ophidian Henosis, the third full-length from New Zealand’s Barshasketh.  Or, for a euro more (plus shipping, of course) I could get the CD.  I opted for the latter and here we are, although I still don’t rightly know what the album name means beyond it’s rough translation of “union of snakes” which is – admittedly – pretty metal. Continue reading “Barshasketh: Ophidian Henosis (2015)”

ash borer - the irreparable gate

Ash Borer: The Irrepassable Gate (2016)

The first time I heard Ash Borer, I couldn’t take how dense and cold the music was.  Here was black metal that didn’t cater to the fickle winds of the second wave, but through their own construction managed to evoke the icy nature of the music without being slavish to the genre.  Evoking drone and doom as much as straight ahead black metal, it was distinctly American in sound, even as its tendrils stretched to otherworldly planes.  When The Irrepassable Gate came out in 2016 I gave it another go and found my way in, through the winding melodies and cold depths of anguish. Continue reading “Ash Borer: The Irrepassable Gate (2016)”