Northern Isolation


Another Wave of Unspeakable Horror

This space is a productive outlet for my usually overwhelming boredom. Let the next round of reviews begin!

Amon Sul-Goat Mit Uns

Country: France (Nord-Pas-de-Calais)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 1995

I’m not even really sure where to start with this. I am generally a huge supporter of the French Black Metal scene, and perhaps the fact that this record was released in ’95 when the world of black metal was still trying hard outdo burned churches and knife murders puts it at an automatic disadvantage. But this record is fucking terrible. The vocals sound somewhere between Peter Lorre and me trying to do a very bad impression of Abbath’s crackly leaves voice. There were moments where I got blindsided by an interesting riff but every time the drums did something other than blast, I realized that a) this is a shitty drum machine band and b) they used the same Casio keyboard I had when I was 5. It had New Kids on the Block on the box. Also, word of advice (as if these guys would take it): avoid drum presets. They are not made for black metal. They’re made for children and Wesley Willis. And apparently this band had a drummer so maybe he just had the flu on the day they recorded this

1/5

Blue Hummingbird on the Left-Bloodflower

Country: USA (Somewhere in SoCal)

Label: Crepusculo Negro

Year: 2010

According to Metal-Archives, this bands name is a translation of the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli’s name. Huitzilopochtli was a god of war and also the patron of Tenochtitlan. He was apparently very grump and required a whole lot of human sacrifices. As it is, this band’s name has required a healthy bit of research, considering black metal bands who don’t sing about Slavic or Norse mythology are few and far between. As a matter of fact, all the bands in the Black Twilight Circle seem to be pretty stoked on Aztec mythology, which I can certainly get behind more than a bunch of guys in Southern California singing about cold forests or Viking raids or some shit like that. If only Xibalba didn’t have to share their name with a crappy hardcore band from LA. Anyway, this release is cool. There are some weird screams thrown in on various tracks which seem way to cheesy to me and kind of detract from this record’s solid core, but that comes with the territory these days, I suppose. Also, pan flutes? What the fuck? I’m pretty sure I heard pan flutes. Aztec black metal is fucking odd.

4/5

Dry Spell-Under the Blackened Skies of War

Country: USA (Saint Petersburg, FL)

Label: Self-released

Year: 2004

I love the production on this record. It’s not good. None of these albums have good production and probably none I review in the future will either. But whereas most black metal demos have that sort of horrible blown out production where everything sort of blends into one indistinguishable noise. This record sounds like it was recorded under a wall of compression 2 houses down. Very very quiet at some points. The songs themselves are relatively unremarkable, your average fair of battles and blast beats and tremolo picking. This album does feature a Mayhem cover that starts with the Dead “Live in Leipzig” intro which to this day makes me laugh. This release isn’t perfect, but shit, who’s is?

3/5

Jammerskrik-Innlemmet i Mørke

Country: Norway (Trondheim)

Label: Nordkult Rituals

Year: 2008

This almost isn’t a black metal record. It has all the ambiance of a black metal record. It has the vocals of a black metal record. It doesn’t have the black metal. The guitars are not distorted at all. This is a truly interesting release because it seems like a bridge that just never ends. Highly repetitive and hypnotic, a good release overall. This was one of the many bands of Steingrim Torson aka Mehimoloth who was shot dead on Walpurgisnacht 2009.

4/5

Hunok/Ancestors Blood split-Vagyakozas/Lalli

Country: Hunok: Hungary (Miskolc)/Ancestors Blood: Finland (Laitila)

Label: Tour De Garde

Year: 2009

Two for one here. Let’s start with the Hunok side of the split. Hunok hail from Northeastern Hungary, is the brainchild of one Gábor Zs., and appear to have replaced the traditional black metal mainstay of punishing blast beats and lots of crash cymbals with a bongo player (and occasionally an Alpen horn). I almost want to call this folk-metal, which it may be because I am not familiar with Hungarian folk music. This does have a sort of ambiance reminiscent of sweeping fields with majestic mountains in the distance. You can almost smell the goat shit on this one. The foghorn/alpen horn/whatever the fuck that thing is on “Vagyakozas II” (“Vagyakozas” is Hungarian for “Desires”) adds a very interesting dimension to this well-executed side. Moving right along to the Ancestors Blood side of the split, we find a more traditional approach to the genre. Ancestors Blood comes from southern Finland and create a kind of tortured plodding black metal that Finland that sounds like trying to climb up a mountain in a blizzard (insert Valfar joke here). Unlike Hunok, Ancestors Blood has a drummer. They also have a synth player who does exactly what a synth player should do in a black metal band: play the root note of the chord and try not to steal any music from obscure video games (“Sorgens Kammer?). The atmosphere Ancestors Blood creates is equal parts beautiful and punishing and, though I can’t say for certain, this is a very effective initial exposure to both of these bands. The best record of the bunch this time around.

5/5

Autumn-Synthesize

Country: Belgium

Label: Minimal Wave

Year: 2011

Curveball! There is nothing remotely black metal about this release. The label it was released on does not release black metal. This might be the first connection between Belgian minimalist electronic group Autumn and black metal ever. This is not a new release. Since 2005, Minimal Wave Records has been re-releasing the hidden gems of the genre and this compilation of Autumn’s old tracks is, by far, my favorite of them. Sparse but undeniably danceable, it’s a wonder this hasn’t made more of an impact than it has. As a matter of fact, it’s downright criminal. I accidentally discovered this group when, through some ridiculous happenstance, I discovered “Night in June” on Youtube of all places. It’s repetitive rhythm and hollow distant synths convey a level of detachment that most bands can only dream of achieving. I really only reviewed this because I love it and I want everyone in the world to love it as well.

6/5. This transcends the rating system.

Reference points!

-Crepusculo Negro: I suggest you check out some of their other releases as well, but the BHOTL EP is available here: http://crepusculonegro.bigcartel.com/category/cassettes

-Tour De Garde records released the Hunok/Ancestors Blood split and are apparently releasing the new Peste Noire album. Go over there and buy all of their merch: http://www.t-d-g.net/tdghq.html

-Minimal Wave Records. Home to the best in gaunt electropop from the 80’s. Compiled and re-released in style: http://minimalwave.com/

Prepare thyselves for the next offering. Less good records. More shitty records I’m going to insult violently.


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