Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Summary Judgments: Black Metal 2013 Blast-a-thon

Blacker than the blackest black . . . times infinity!

It seems like about two years ago I was getting really inundated with death metal, and didn't know what to do with all of it. Lately, there's been a whole lot of black metal coming into my inbox. I didn't add it up, but I'm pretty sure it averages more than an album of black metal each day.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the albums collected here. In fact, each one of these albums got at least one full listen from me. Most of them got three or more listens. But after you've written a certain number of black metal album reviews, it's hard to come up with something fresh to say when the music doesn't stand out as innovative, exceptionally good, or exceptionally bad.

Grift: Fyra elegier

Grift is slow- to mid-paced and rougher around the edges, with a cool riff or two and a folk part or two. Every song title has at least one funny symbol over at least one of the letters, which actually for no good reason is something that appeals to me.

Monarque: Lys Noir

Monarque is aggressive and cleanly-produced, with a dramatic sense and symphonic-sounding keyboards there to add even more drama. I can't help but feel there's more to be said about this one, but it has yet to whisper in my ear.

Productions Heretiques

Maleficus Angelus: Fall of Man

Again, aggressive and cleanly produced. It's a little more dynamic than the others, slowing the pace occasionally. The drumming is very precise and all-around violent. At first I thought they were programmed, but I don't think they are now. This one is worth checking out. It's pay-what-you-want; sometimes I forget how appealing that can be.

Throne Below: Defy Deceit Destroy

The writing on this is superior to the preceding records on this post: Simply more dynamic, in terms of tempo, loudness, texture, and especially the memorable guitar leads. The vocals aren't great but they're passable, and the drums are programmed but not offensive. The production on this one tries to be clean, but there's not good space between the instruments. It must be tough putting it together in South Africa, but if this one dude could write the music and play the guitars in a full band, that would be great. Also, it's another pay-what-you-want release.

Outer Gods: Light Dims Eternal

This last inclusion is an outlier, and maybe doesn't strictly belong in this company. Part black metal, mostly dark ambient, and all just a little bit scary. That's how I would describe Light Dims Eternal from Outer Gods. I don't typically have the patience for ambient music of any variety, and while this was actually fairly impressive, I think it hit me on the wrong day. I have to be in just the right mental space for this; today I wasn't.

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