nechochwen - kanawha black

Nechochwen: Kanawha Black (2022)

Day 22 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for your most recent purchase. I’m fairly particular when it comes to metal on vinyl, and black metal specifically. There’s little chance of a sonic upgrade over CD or digital when you’re talking about the production of a lot of classic metal (my beloved Darkthrone included), but as the genre continues to absorb influences and break away from the rigid tenets of its beginnings the production beefs up and can get downright nice. Nechochwen have quietly been showing folks in the know for over a decade they had the chops and commitment to craft some intense and thoughtful black metal focusing on their Appalachian roots, and on Kanawha Black, their first album in seven the duo of Nechochwen (Aaron Carey) and Pohonasin (Andrew D’Cagna, also of Ironflame) show just how far their sonic palate has expanded with an epic, progressive album that breaks their own mold.

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Stormkeep: Tales of Othertime (2021)

Day 18 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for an album with some incredible art or packaging. was lucky to get in early and snag the limited edition package for Tales of Othertime, the second release and first full length from Stormkeep, a kind of black metal supergroup featuring members from Blood Incantation and Wayfarer. The album’s artwork would be with the entry if that was the only thing that came with the music, but this edition also came with a book, a map, and a patch for the battle vest I have yet to complete.

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RSD 2022

Record Store Day 2022

I’m not one to usually get up and get on the line for Record Store Day; I’m more than content to head over to my local shop a few days later and pick through the remains, or order online. But the last few weeks have been a hotbed of anxiety, and I’ve been relying more and more on music in order to detach and decompress (hence the massive influx of incoming vinyl). So this morning I roused myself, showered, and with a hot cup of coffee took myself down to Needle + Groove Records to see if I could nab the few titles I was interested in.

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belus - apophenia

Belus: Apophenia (2017)

The first thing I noticed were the drums: this rolling, almost jazz-like feel to the way Jacques Johnson would use the snare, accenting offbeats and sliding rolls like he was soloing against the tremolo fury of “Chasm,” the opening track on Apophenia, the debut full length from USBM by way of NYC band Belus. By respecting the more traditional aspects of black metal without being beholden to its staid tenets the trio create an immediate, accessible album that’s never content to sit back and ride a blast beat; not when it can roil and churn its way through various riffs and changes.

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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?

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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.” ┬áBecause 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)”