Archive for the blackgaze Category

Hagalaz’ Favorite Black Metal Releases of 2013

Posted in black metal, blackgaze, canada, colombia, DSBM, france, musings, norway, sweden, underground, united states, USBM with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2014 by blackmetallurgy

In 2012, I felt like the overwhelming theme among the best black metal releases were the ones that took big risks- bands like Marduk and Deathspell Omega doing really interesting experimental stuff. This year, for me at least, the heavy hitters were bands that have traditionally been heavy hitters; the only difference is, in many cases, these are comeback albums. Satyricon, Arckanum, and Rotting Christ all put out albums that are, in my opinion, superior the their other recent releases. I decided to keep it to  ten this year- Horna and Woe were among those I cut, and I haven’t gotten to spend enough time with the new Sadgiqacea album, otherwise I’d probably have to revise again.

So without further ado:

Gehenna- Unravel

Gehenna’s mid-tempo dissonance has really peaked in this new album. Unravel is a dirge-like, doomy album, perfect for a funeral or a rainy day. I really like the influences I hear in this one- namely, French black metal and funeral doom- and the way that Gehenna has made them their own.

Satyricon- Satyricon

I didn’t expect much from the new Satyricon. The Age of Nero was okay, and I am one of the few people, I think, who genuinely appreciates Now, Diabolical. Still, Satyricon’s sound has been too polished for me lately, and even though the production is still a little *too* good on this new one, they’ve got their bite back for sure. There are some lovely black metal riffs in there, the ballad is not bad (seriously. What is it with ballads? So far those that have done it have done it well, but I hope this doesn’t become too much of a thing), and holy crap Frost’s drumming. That’s all I have to say about that.

Watain- The Wild Hunt

I was seriously doubting whether Watain would ever be able to surpass The Waters of Ain, and for me, I still don’t think they have. Nevertheless, the Swedes have proven their mettle with The Wild Hunt, experimenting with ballads and clean vocals and sticking it to those people who think they are simply Dissection clones.

Rotting Christ- Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy (Do What Thou Wilt) [No, I would not like to take a stab at it in Greek]

The new Rotting Christ was one of the first albums that I listened to this year, and I really wasn’t crazy about it. But then, a couple of months ago, I threw it on so I could have something good to work out to (Rotting Christ is great, I find, for inspiring one’s sit-ups), and all of a sudden it clicked. I haven’t been able to get enough of it since.

Deafheaven- Sunbather

Yup. I’m putting Deafheaven on my list. Sorry I’m not sorry, Trve Kvltists. Sunbather is a phenomenal album; I mean, Irresistible reminds me of Placebo, even (yes, the pop band. The awesome pop band).  The commentary that this album makes on American materialism is just proof that USBM never ceases to find interesting new ways to address darkness.

Summoning- Old Morning’s Dawn

Old Morning’s Dawn pretty much knocked my socks clean off when I heard it. This album is one of those that you should keep on reserve to put on when your unbeliever friends tell you black metal is just noise. Beautiful.

Arckanum- Fenris Kindir

Arckanum’s new album, Fenris Kindir, serves as a reminder of all the reasons why Arckanum is fantastic. Tungls Tjúgari is a churning, atmospheric nightmare, and Hamrami’s gorgeous soundscape evokes the mountains and forests in the way that only Shamaatae can pull off. (Listening to it right now reminds me that I need to spend more time in the woods. Wish it wasn’t so freaking cold out.)

Gris- À L’Âme Enflammée, L’Äme Constellée

Quebeçois DSBM masters Gris have graced us with a brilliant and lovely new album in the form of a 2 disc set (!!!!). In case you didn’t hear that right, that’s two whole discs of atmospheric, depressive loveliness. My brain doesn’t really know how to comprehend how cool that is, but I’m doing my best.

Inquisition- Obscure Verses For The Multiverse

Although I am still mourning the falling out between Antichrist Kramer and Inquisition that resulted in what I find to be some pretty silly cover art, Obscure Verses is an incredible album. Good old fashioned Inquisition mixed with some really cool effects with the guitar.

And, last but not least, my favorite black metal album of 2013, the album so nice, I bought it twice….

Aosoth- IV: An Arrow In Heart

Anyone who read my review of Aosoth’s newest back in June has the slightest inkling of just how crushingly hard-hitting this album was for me. As I was reflecting on my top ten again today, I spent some time listening to it again, and it’s still just as fraught with tension and cold as the first time I heard it. Brilliant. (And yes, I really did buy it twice. CD and double LP.)

***

Well, fellow kvltists, there you have it. My best of in 2013. I’m coming up with a not-just-black-metal list for Burning Fist, which is… difficult, to say the least, but I am working on it. And I’ll try to get caught up on the reviews, because I’m sure there are some people who haven’t bought the new Woe yet who wonder if it’s worth their buck (but not Inquisition. Everyone’s already got that one. Or they should. If you don’t, you should hand over your spiked gauntlets, because you’re not trve). Have a lovely new year, and I will see you soon, and often.

-Hagalaz

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Concert: Anathema/Alcest/Mamiffer (9/22, Mill City Nights, Minneapolis, MN)

Posted in blackgaze, concerts, doom, doom metal, england, france, mill city nights, minneapolis, minneapolis/st. paul, post-black metal, united states with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2013 by blackmetallurgy

As I mentioned last time, Alcest had to hurry out of the store so they could make it to the venue in time to do sound checks, etc. I got to Mill City nights a little bit before the show started and browsed merch for a while- Mamiffer had an amazing tank top with a cat on it. Also, Anathema and Alcest had some pretty cool shirts and merch. The crowd for this show was varied; I saw people I had never seen before, and lots of people brought their significant other (metal is not usually romantic. But if it was, it’d sound like Alcest).

Mamiffer was a really excellent opening act. Eerie and atmospheric, they provided the perfect intro to a band like Alcest. They consistent of a female vocalist/keyboardist and a guy guitarist, and it reminded me somewhat of a post-rock set in that they would use feedback between songs to give the illusion of no downtime. I really enjoyed their set, and I look forward to hearing more from them.

Alcest was the next band on this shortened bill, and they were absolutely incredible. The highlight of the night for me, Alcest played a lot of songs off their latest album, Les Voyages de L’Âme (incidentally, that was the first ever review to appear on Blackmetallurgy). They also briefly touched on the older albums, and debuted some new material for the upcoming record. I will admit, I was in tears; it’s been a rough year for me, and Alcest has gotten me through a lot of it as Alcest plays the happiest songs I know. It was incredible to see them live, and an absolute honor to meet Neige.

Anathema finished up the night as co-headliners. Their set was very impressive- I can tell that the members of Anathema are all very talented and natural musicians. However, the music was really not my style at all. Anathema used to be big into doom, but their newer material has moved to a poppier sound, barely even metal at all. At one point they said they’d play an old song, but alas, it wasn’t old enough. Those of us who hoped that Anathema would cater to fans of the older material left feeling dissatisfied with the Englishmen’s set.

I didn’t buy a t-shirt this time. The only shirt that Alcest had that I was somewhat interested in was only available in L and XL by the time I got up to the booth to buy something. I ended up getting a record, as I absolutely love Écailles de Lune and didn’t own a physical copy of it, and I knew how hard it would be to track down an Alcest record (Into the Void, for instance, doesn’t have any). I am really, really glad I got the record. I saw Neige standing by the merch tables after I bought my record and borrowed a pen from a security guard so I could see if he’d sign it too. He did, of course, and I got to thank him for the music and tell him that it helps my mental state a lot when times are bad.

:D

😀

The vinyl itself is beautiful too. Like pale blue marble.

The vinyl itself is beautiful too. Like pale blue marble.

Although Anathema was a bit disappointing (for me, anyway), I thoroughly enjoyed Mamiffer, and Alcest made an absolute mess of me. I had wondered how well they’d do on Mill City Nights’ big stage, but the turnout was really excellent. Great night, great show, great company, great band/guys. Three weeks later I’m still trying to shake the daze.

**

Upcoming things- I saw Saint Vitus last week, so I’ll talk about that soon, and also I am going to be reviewing a couple of albums that my buddy over at Ars Magna Recordings sent me. Then, of course, there are reviews of the new Watain and Woe, and I am planning on snagging the new Inquisition as soon as it drops and work on tracking myself down a copy of Gris’ new one. I might be doing a review of the new Ensiferum as well. I’ve also got some other things in the works, and Watain on Wednesday (!!!). Still incredibly busy, but I’m going to make it my goal to work on the blog at least 30 minutes every day so I can hopefully stay on top of things.

 -Hagalaz