“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?
Rolling hills, mystical lakes, breathtaking valleys, etc. All those wonderful things you think of when you think of the Hinterlands of Scotland are magnificently personified through the music of one man band Saor. Heavy on the awe and wonder of nature this atmospheric blend of folk and black metal simply awes. The folksy layers build a shamanistic sense of wonder while the flurries of the black metal make you feel as if you are a fallen leaf being carried along gusts of wind down and out of the majestic Scottish landscapes.
To say Saor’s recently released album Aura is anything less than a masterpiece would be a gross understatement. With production that sounds both sharp yet maintains that warm tone I look for in my ‘nature metal’ and songs that are as engaging as they are epic this is one record that you can not miss this year. If bands like Moonsorrow, Panopticon, Vintersorg, or Wolves in the Throne Room do wonders to your ear drums, I implore you to click the play button of the Bandcamp stream below. And, as always if you like what you hear, which I’m sure you will, click that buy button. Let us know how much you loved the album in the comments! Peace Love and Metal!!!
If there’s one thing Agalloch is synonymous with, it’s nature. Each of their releases has the band exploring haunted, snow-capped forests and reveling in the majesty of vast and intimidating mountain and valley landscapes. If you pop on any Agalloch record, you are going to be transported into a neo-folk cum black metal whirlwind of mysticism, intrigue, and Earthen beauty. For their latest release, The Serpent and the Sphere, we get to listen to the black metal shamans take their well established sound one step further. But, how could they go beyond their already perfect interpretations of Mother Earth in all her natural beauty? Well, by tackling something more astral.
Do you see the brilliant spheres?
This night knows countless years.
You step out onto your porch, gaze up, and look right through histories upon histories in the universe. Yet, you are here, glaring into a majesty you can’t even begin to comprehend. You look into infinite space, you see stars that haven’t existed for millions of years, planets that have come and gone, and bygone times you never knew or would have imagined existed. And you are here. You feel small, but unwittingly fulfilled that you are part of it all, whatever it is. You are part of that history, that energy, that existence that just maybe some other being is gazing of towards. You look down, across the cityscape, into trees, over to your dog, or to where ever your Earthly abode is and you feel a loving connection; gratitude to where your feet ground you. You are happy to be alive and given the chance to ponder and appreciate, to feel pain and loss, to experience love and life. You look back up and feel one.
For me, trying to describe the objective sound or style found on The Old Believer would be doing The Atlas Moth a huge disservice. I could say the record calls to mind White Pony-era Deftones with heavy black metal and post metal influences, but it’s so much more than that. I could say textures and layers of music paired with intriguing and introspective lyrics create journeys through the human and celestial mind and soul. I could say that visceral (and very understandable) blackened screams running in tandem with a beautiful baritone clean singing as well as layer upon layer of ominous keys, melodic and crushing guitars, thick grooved bass, and hypnotizing drum all work perfectly together to create a marrow chilling dynamic. I could say this album just about brought me to tears. But no. I’m just going to shut my mouth and implore you to take my word for it that this record needs to be in your collection and in your ears as soon as possible. I’ll just leave you with another sample lyric that hit me particularly. Peace Love and Metal! 5/5
To become whole I must first fall
The sky is the only one who knows how
To assemble the pieces like before
Eruption leads to rebirth
Just let go
The Old Believer is out June 10th 2014 through Profound Lore Records. You can order through their site to get the super cool physical CD (you dip the cover in water and it changes!!!) or go digital through Bandcamp. Give The Atlas Moth a ‘Like’ on Facebook and if you didn’t take my suggestion to listen to the advance stream the other day, here ya’ go.
Posted by ChristopherMammal
There are two common factors in this selection of new videos. One, they are all hard ‘n’ heavy. Two, they are all the sort of music that makes non-metal people splutter: “You must be crazy to listen to that stuff.”
So, tighten your strait jackets, tell all your hippie friends to leave the room, and crank the volume up to 11 to satisfy your insanity.
Here, chew on this packet of ball-bearings while you listen.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the majority of bands hailing from New York, it’s that they have a penchant for being uncompromising, direct, to the point, and pull absolutely no punches. It must come from the non-stop pedal to the metal lifestyle of its denizens as the hustle and bustle throughout one of the worlds most bat shit crazy cities. Just look at the city’s storied hard-core scene and you’ll soon realize that none of those band take no shit from anyone. New Yorkers also know how to party, and that also shines through in the East Coasts style of thrash. Now, when we take the uncompromising side of NYC and mix it with its happy-go-lucky party side and jack it up on a base of black metal, you get a nice unique mix resulting in a little gem of a band called Black Anvil.
Posted by Irmelinis
I made a wish in the beginning of this year, after my music library started being “over-progged”. I wished that 2014 would bring lots of good black metal. For the first two-three months it didn’t seem very likely to happen, but then *BOOM*… I was hit with one great black/blackened metal release after another. Thantifaxath, The Great Old Ones, So Hideous, Dirge, Ifing, Plebeian Grandstand and my latest find: Infestus. It’s a solo effort, released just last month and on Infestus’ Bandcamp page it says “incredible”, “engrossing” and “sophisticated”. All of them are true, very much so!
After listening to the song above, I bet you can’t resist checking out the full album, so here you go:
Label: Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions
Release Date: April 18th, 2014
Genre: Black/Post Metal
Studio Albums: 1 previous LP (Al Azif)
Location: Bordeaux, France
Posted by ChristopherMammal
Is old-school, uncompromising black metal better or worse than the modern styles of progressive, atmospheric, melodic or symphonic black metal? Or are they equally good in their different ways?
This topic sparks more frequent discussions, debates or fights than most metal topics. Some fans are so biased towards either the old or the new approach that they steadfastly refuse to listen to the other approach.
I won’t take sides. I will make one technical observation which has nothing to with the music itself – modern black metal does generally seem to benefit from better engineering and production.
This video was posted on YouTube a few years ago. It’s still very relevant and interesting. So… what do you think?
When take a gander at some of the reasons some of my favorite bands have remained my favorite bands over the course of decades one reason always seems to take the forefront. The ability to grow and evolve, not afraid to make dramatic changes, while remaining true to a core sound or style that initial made me a super-fan in the first place. These kind of bands give me something to look forward from release to release as I know I am going to get lots of new alleyways and avenues to explore. They keep their career fresh and I get a variety of albums to listen to (unlike just more or less needing a single album that sums up the bands catalog) all with different experiences contained within.
Enter Cormorant. A couple of years ago when they released their sophomore album Dwellings my ears picked up on the unique blend of blackened prog rock tinged with hints of classic metal and instantly became a super-fan of the Bay Area band. As par for the course, since I liked their current record so much I ponied up the cash for the back catalog expecting more of the same that was on Dwellings. To my delight, their debut album Metazoa was a much different beast than the record I was spinning ad nauseam, yet was still very much a Cormorant affair. They just needed a third record to prove they were the real deal and not just a fluke and they were pretty much guaranteed a spot in my coveted Realm of Upper Echelon Bands. I was very much hoping this would happen. Then tragedy struck; Arthur Von Nagal, the bands front man, lyricist, vocalist, bassist, and major songwriter contribute made the decision to leave the band to pursue in a career of video game development (FYI, that really freaking awesome Walking Dead game that won all them awards, he was on that team. Go play games made by TellTale, their all great!).