Posted by ChristopherMammal
The culturally and religiously conservative south-east of the USA, commonly known as the Bible Belt, isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you consider the roots of old-school, fuck-you-all death metal and black metal. Yet it’s given rise to some of the enduring stalwarts of those genres over that last three decades or more.
Extreme underground metal isn’t exactly popular in the Bible Belt. The kick-ass bands that start there go elsewhere in the US to find audiences who won’t damn them for all eternity for playing the music of the Devil. The more successful of those bands go to Europe to spread their type of music to new audiences.
The demonic-looking guy in the photo is Kelly McCoy, one of the seasoned movers in American underground metal and a champion of other extreme bands as well as his own. He invited Metal State to make a short journey into the hard, nasty, uncompromising shadowland of brutal bands from the Deep South. He introduced us to bands he’s with and to other bands who have chosen the same road to perdition.
The metal they play is raw. This certainly doesn’t mean raw in the sense of underdone or unprofessional… anything but! No, it’s raw in the sense that the flesh still drips blood when you rip it off the bones. It’s mighty powerful, deeper than the region where it originated, and I’m sure you’re going to find diabolical beauty in the music. I did. I have the scars to prove it.
Last year was great for black and blackened metal of all varieties, we received goodies like The Great Old Ones, Infestus, Thantifaxath, Behemoth, Enthroned, Ifing, Emptiness and much more. I’m hoping this year will provide us with just as many quality releases, to make our existence darker and more uncomfortable. Just the way we like it.
The New Blacks
*The ambitious A Forest Of Stars (progressive black) have already shared extensive information about their new album “Beware The Sword You Can Not See”, and it will contain panic, maggots, crumbling cities and mental collapse, presented in a neat package with the most gorgeous looking artwork. Out on February 27th. A taste from previous album:
Posted by WarpRider
By now you may have seen our individual end-of-year best albums. If not, our main page is littered with individual lists of what rocked our worlds this year. Please, check it out. For those who stopped by, you probably noticed that we at Metal State have varied taste in metal. Only a few albums made it across multiple annual lists. Having said that, another list is about to get thrown into the mix; a first for this website.
Throughout the year we put together collective reviews we coined as “roundtable” reviews. With all four reviewers providing comments on these reviews, we present to you our Top 15, strictly by the numbers. It is worth noting that some of our roundtable reviews sometimes only include three of four reviewers. To be fair, we left those albums off this list. This Top 15 reflects only those albums where all of us could provide comments. Read the rest of this entry →
Posted by ChristopherMammal
These albums all carry the Mammal Seal of Approval. So will the other Goodies of 2014 we’ll be sharing in the next few days. My seal is more powerful than the US Navy Seals and as handsome as an elephant seal.
This year we’ve reviewed close to 150 albums and posted streams, songs, videos and previews from as many again. We must have listened to about 300 other albums that we haven’t discussed. Some of those albums are more than worth mentioning as the year draws to a close.
Go on, give them a listen. They’re not presented in any order of preference.
He’s a man of the world, but his is a small world,
being a world whirled and whipped inside a filth caked skull.
All a dalliance in delusion, all dreamed down in narcotic seclusion,
he peeps all askance through all and sundry;
three dimension unreality his fourth dimension play-day.
All eternity a rainy Sunday.
He, a builder of worlds in dreams.
He, a destroyer of worlds in dreams.
Feculent plots / hatch / fester / fry.
Subsistence burnt black, effulguent brain pan besmirched.
Labours of love ladled into ravenous toilet bowl of life.
All lost souls to feat upon fresh hot meal of voided bowel.
He, a leacher of colour. He, a void in sanity.
A poisoner of the well, instiller of winter’s gray flavour.
A spasmed spatter of the obvious, a-soiling gleaming uncertainty.
On a lonely wander through twisting streets of Yonder,
his one good eye spying, prying, a shadow play for yesterdays.
All tomorrows, all yesterdays today,
Carrion Crow, pinch-faced proprietor of this sorry sideshow.
Roll up, roll up! Crack cranks his codeine calliope,
all is vibrant colour without his vermined bone box.
All within, bleak nothing – all without to pay homage, at his insistence.
Cosmic keys broken in twisting locks of lost infinities.
His worlds all a-fire now, a Lucifer turning in listless circles,
before landing in the dry hay of thoughts half-remembered.
Evensong their last song.
Pray for the prey! Sing for your supper!
Funeral pyres for one and all today.
As hand of God to give,
as hand of God to take away.
This one caught my attention by claiming to be a mix of surf rock and black metal, and a combo like that you don’t not jump on the opportunity to see if it’s something revolutionary or an absolute train wreck. To my disappointment a combo of Dick Dale and Emperor didn’t come to fruition (with the exception of a minute at the end of the record). What I consider surf rock, really wasn’t strongly present in the 4 songs. However, what I did here was a really interesting proggy atmospheric black metal record with a sunny, nautical feel. Like a combo of Rush, BtBaM, and Deafheaven.
Another thing that really caught me about the record is the positivity of the lyrical content, which fits the ‘happy’ black metal it coincides with. Songs about loving life, beauty, etc. It’s always nice when there is a break from the norm and The Apache Revolver pull it off quite well. This being the bands first substantial offering, it’s very well done and the potential these guys have is astounding. I am quite interested to see what they can do with a full length. Anyhoo, give The Morningstar E.P. a listen and let us know what you think. As always, if you like what you here, grab yourself a copy of the album and force your metal minded friends to listen to it. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Thanks to the great FB Page Hipster Black Metal for turning me onto this one (as well as many other cool records).
Release Date: April 15th, 2014
Length: 44 minutes
Genre: Unconventional, mysterious, anonymous black metal
Studio Albums: Thantifaxath EP 2011
Location: possibly from Toronto, Canada
While The Light that Dwells in Rotten Wood has been out for some time, yet I only stumbled upon it not to long ago after catching a recommendation of it from Panopticon’s FB page. I guess I got to get that first feeling of amazement that went through many long time fans of the band when this record first dropped in 2011. This record is one hell of a shattering work of art. Needless to say, 2 tracks into my first listen, it was an insta-buy.
A huge canvas gets covered with moods, imagery, and colors that would come from Bob Ross if he happened to be a black metal fan. Well pronounced melodies collide with goosebumps-inducing atmospheres and well thought out songwriting guarantees that you will be hooked into the music as it takes you on a journey through verdant mountain ranges and shimmering lakes. And while the misanthropic lyrics work to warn what our incessant negativity and lack of respect for nature will do to humanity, there is genuine love and optimism tucked away in them.
Lucky for me, Falls of Rauros have a new album releasing shortly this year, so expect for me to drool all over that the moment I get my hands on it. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out and when you can get it in the near future. Until then, if you fancy yourself a fan of bands like Agalloch, Panopticon, Windir, and Saor, do yourself a huge biggun’ and give this record a spin. This linked remaster is the version I bought and while I can’t speak for the original master, the quality of the sound and production is out standing as it pours from my headphones. Enjoy!!! And as always, if you like what you hear be a chap and toss the artist a few shells and give the record a download. Peace Love and Metal!!!!!
While it’s been quite a long time since black metal has evolved from its anarchistic, church burning beginnings, it still amazes me how far the genre has come. Bands like Deafheaven, Agalloch, Moonsorrow, Wolves in the Throne Room, and Septicflesh have taken the genre in such wildly different directions and opened up what was a very closed community to many more fans. And to be completely honest, I would have never learned to appreciate tr00 kvlt black metal if it weren’t for those bands (and Emperor) easing me into the insane harshness of the genre.
Now taking the genre down a different path is Botanist. Utilizing major keys, a love of Sonic Youth, and a dulcimer (it’s an instrument in case you’re wondering) Botonist have crafted ‘happy black metal’. Flowers, plants, love for nature, all that lovely stuff personified in the music really make their new record, VI: Flora, pop. Thematically, the record is very black metal. It recounts a tale of a man becoming a hermit to escape all the hate and pain of the world and to surround himself with the beauty of nature and await the day when humanity eradicates its self and Mother Earth can reclaim and begin to regrow. Anyhoo, environmentalist warnings aside, this is a beautiful record filled with sounds and themes yet to be explored in black metal.
This is one of the more unique records I’ve heard this year and it’s well worth your time, if only to hear how far black metal has come since the days of Mayhem and Darkthrone. Give a listen and let us know what you think. And as always, if you like what you hear, toss the artist a few bucks and grab a download of the record. Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
“Mid-summer…when the alchemy of Nature transmutes the sylvan landscape to one vivid and almost homogeneous mass of green; when the senses are well-nigh intoxicated with the surging seas of moist verdure and the subtly indefinable odours of the soil and the vegetation. In such surroundings the mind loses its perspective; time and space become trivial and unreal, and echoes of a forgotten prehistoric past beat insistently upon the enthralled consciousness.”
H. P. Lovecraft, “The Tomb”
Nature is chaotic, random, and imperfect. There is no perfect symmetry, order, nothing follows the rules; each of its parts is unique unto itself. And in this imperfection we can find perfection. Not in the sense of something tangible, but in a more profound sense. If everything we could hear, see, smell, touch were perfect, we might as well just curl up and pass on to whatever lies next; there would be nothing to explore, to contemplate, to surprise us. Yet in imperfection we can explore, contemplate, and be surprised. As we delve into the questions Nature presents to us we tangentially discover things about us and our world on a much deeper level. Something spiritual. And that makes us happy, and what is happiness but taking one step closer to finding perfection in Ourselves?