Northern Isolation

07/24/2011, 3:11 PM
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , , ,

This is the last in my inaugural series of daily review posts. From this point on, I will update weekly as a means of not totally burning myself on the genre and giving myself a chance to hunt down the newest in the genre. No more (or at least dramatically less) old posts from me in the future.

Skuggeheim-Kjøt og Blod

Country: Norway

Label: Daudings Gjenklang

Year: 2010

I finally found it. From now on, this is going to be the release I show people when I try to make my argument that Swedish black metal is miles ahead of it’s Norwegian ancestors. This album embodies a vicious cycle I see in the Norwegian scene in the past few years. Bands have divided along stylistic lines, those who cling desperately to the old, cold sound of early Scandinavian black metal and those who’s determination to distance themselves from the original scene has taken them into the realm of the profoundly dumb. In this case, the former is ever present. This may share more stylistic larsony from an Arckanum record than anything the Norwegians ever came up with, except by the time this record came out, Arckanum had become something much more terrifying. Also, fuck corpse paint, it’s about scary monster masks now.


Black Landscapes-Shred Them For They Might Escape

Country: Israel (Herzliyah)

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2004

I was going to review another Dutch black metal band here. A pretty good one at that. But two factors changed my mind. First of all, the band featured but two members, both of whom are in Abysmal Darkening who I reviewed yesterday. Second, I found this. Based on face-value alone, this release is unremarkable. A pretty shaky attempt at drum machine black metal, no atmosphere whatsoever. The vocals sound completely horrendous. Nothing to write home about, really. But wait a second, this band (read: guy) is from Israel. So what? So is Melechesh. But wait, this guy is from Israel and is very excited about being from Israel. And sings about it. A lot. As a matter of fact, two tracks on this album are dedicated to an epic cover of “Hatikva” which non-Israelis might recognize because elements of it are found in the score of Schindler’s List. It also happens to be the Israeli national anthem. This record really doesn’t do it for me, but I’m not going to completely shred it because I give this guy a ton of credit for being the token Jewish black metal band. Varg is so pissed about this, probably.



Country: USA

Label: Self-Released

Year: 2011

Norway can suck it. It’s too bad about that psycho who blew up that building and shot 80 people on that island, but the nation has officially divorced itself from it’s mighty Viking past. If Varg had been the one that shot all of those kids, it would have been a different story, but he didn’t. And this speculation has nothing to do with their black metal. Sorrows does not come from Norway. They come from here. They make one hell of a godless racket, occasionally punctuated by peaceful silence, only to be shattered again seconds later. There is a fucking harmonica on this. I can’t even say anything else about this. Sorrows dwells somewhere between the typical USBM fare of atmosphere and the synthy noodle-work of Emperor.


Taut-Fantasy Mapped in Blood

Country: USA

Label: CW Productions

Year: 2010

I’m not sure if the drums on this release were supposed to sound like someone tapping a pencil on a tupperware container. I’m also not sure if Taut are intentionally playing the world’s most tired black metal riffs as a means of canonizing the genre or if that is genuinely what they believe they have to do to be a part of it. Side B of this cassette-only release is markedly better than side A, but it is also much shorter. To be honest, parts of this record are so muddled, it almost sounds like a guy screaming over a white noise machine. It’s a bad sign when the bass is the only thing distinguishable from the drum/guitar/vocal/whatever else is in there MEHlee.


Zaklon-Услед Змёрзламу Сонцу

Country: Belarus (Minsk)

Label: Possessions Production

Year: 2010

4 minutes might be just a little bit too long for the intro to go on for. But once the song actually starts, it becomes apparent that Zaklon do know what they’re doing. Maybe a little bit heavy on the flute-synth. Maybe a little bit too Temozor when it comes to song structure (but without the epic Quorthon vocals). But the acoustic instrumentation on this release is excellently executed. It’s all too easy for black metal dudes to just pick up an acoustic guitar and suddenly create atmosphere. Zaklon succeeds where a lot of black metal bands fall flat. In addition, when they are acknowledging their metal side, the end result is a chunky merciless brutality that falls on you like fallout from Chernobyl.


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